Wednesday, January 3, 2007

An Irish digression...

This is off-topic, but after watching the Sugar Bowl and seeing Notre Dame get the pants beaten off them yet again, I can't help but vent my frustration with the consistently overrated Irish. I mean, did we really need to see JaMarcus Russell & Co. play backyard ball all over the Irish D to know those guys didn't deserve a BCS bid? Don't get me wrong, I know LSU is a great team (with maybe the best team speed in the country), but what I watched earlier tonight was laughable. LSU didn't even play well in the first half, and still took a 21-14 lead into the break before going 20-0 in the 2nd and piling up 583 yards of total offense (with several very bad calls going against them, I might add)...

I realize the "Notre Dame is overrated and annoying" card has probably been overplayed, but has anyone stopped to look at it in perspective? Sure, they won 10 games this year--but against who? Not a single team they beat was in the AP Top 25 at the end of the season (Georgia Tech, who ND edged 14-10, was tied in the Coaches Poll at #25 after the regular season but just finished at 9-5 after their loss to WVU).

This to say nothing of the fact that it took a dumb-luck miracle to beat Michigan State and another comeback to best UCLA. Of course, a win is a win so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on those two (as I would with any other team).

What really bothers me is that not only did Notre Dame lose to the only three really good teams they played this year, but they lost BADLY. A 47-21 pantsing at home to Michigan, a 44-24 blowout at USC, and 41-14 to LSU in a BCS bowl. This program hasn't won a bowl game since the Democrats were last in Congress (1994).

No matter how much NBC or the rest of the media wants to make them "America's Team," and no matter how much the NCAA benefits financially from Notre Dame's success, sooner or later they're going to have to start proving on the field that they deserve to be in the company of the big boys.


Stanimal said...

I'm very very glad that you brought this up. As much as I respect Notre Dame and their tradition as a blue-blood of college football, I am sick of them living on that aspect alone. Sure, they had talented players on offense. But when you get right down to it, you had the fastest offense in the country (and I don't think there's any way you can say they don't have the fastest offense) against at best a mediocre defense. Notre Dame didn't crack the top 25 in a single significant defensive category this year. They were 50th in rushing defense, 47th in pass defense, 42nd in total defense, 41st in tackles for loss and their best was 30th in sacks for which they are tied with so many teams that I don't feel like typing even 1/3 of them. But, because the offense was supposed to be SOOOO good, they came away with a preseason #2 ranking and once again got shown up.

Shamas is 100% correct in his evaluation of their schedule and the way they have played this season. While they came away from games with wins, those wins weren't indicative of their ranking. At the end of the season, they beat only one ranked team, Penn State. The rest of the teams either fell flat on their faces over the course of the year or didn't have high expectations at all. And then of course, there's getting BLOWN out by your supposed big games that were supposed to prove you could run with the big dogs. So someone tell me, how does THAT equate to you making the BCS? How many other teams probably could have had that shot and done better against LSU? I can think of quite a few.

As an independent, Notre Dame simply should not be considered for BCS bowls unless they can beat the BCS conference teams on their schedule. I'll be the first to admit that I panned Boise State when they got a BCS bid, but at least they went 13-0 and dominated their entire schedule. This situation with Notre Dame is different because they actually DID play top teams in BCS conferences and lost badly in each.

So I'm sorry Notre Dame, you can't live off your name forever.

Stanimal said...

Apologize for the addendum. In the first paragraph I was referencing LSU as the fastest team in the country. Not Notre Dame. I was pointing out the Sugar Bowl mis-match.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Mz says you sould cool your talk about the schedule a little bit.

I'll defend the Irish in that

Anonymous said...

Dr. MZ says you need to cool your talk about the schedule a little bit.

I'll defend the Irish in that I really do think they try to put together a quality schedule year in and year out. They play the service academies every year out of tradition -- say what you want about that. They schedule games with Michigan and USC ever year -- I respect that. And they try to fill the rest of the void with competitive games against big-time teams. As for this year, I assume they scheduled the games against UCLA and North Carolina at points when people figured both of those teams would be pretty good. We all know that North Carolina sucked, BIG TIME -- if you want me to write at length about just how much they blow, I'll be more than happy to do so -- but that game was scheduled at a time when the Heels still played some quality ball. Same goes for UCLA. And don't knock the Bruins. After all, Mark Harmon, the star of the 1980s comedy smash "Summer School," played his college ball there. No joke. MARK FRIGGIN HARMON!!!!

And you don't ever disrespect a team for scheduling Penn State, no matter how good they're supposed to be.

I'm not to defend Irish's performance against the teams they played, however. And I will back up your point that they haven't had many victories against quality teams during the past two years, and that the razor-thin loss to USC last year redefined the word "quality loss." But I won't say that they didn't belong in a BCS game. Not if it meant another match-up as boring and meaningless as the Wake Forest-Louisville match-up.