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Notre Dame and the University of Texas have had quite a bit in common the past few decades.
To me, two separate topics, Lou -- a) ND to the Big XII and b) a Texas-like ND resurgence -- but I also see the associative link.
Assuming ND FB joins a conference, which I hope never happens --
I would prefer that it be the Big XII under the terms discussed. I don't see what ND gains going to the Big 10, a conference which eschewed it for religious reasons when things like that could still happen, and which, in my opinion, is still not overly fond of ND.
Jim Delaney and I were classmates in high school, and I am sorry I didn't pose the question to him when I saw him a couple of years ago at a reunion.
Also, I don't see the cultural fit with the ACC, and, given the Big XII would be willing to take ND's Olympic Sports, it could be a good solution all around and less a geographical and cultural stretch.
As for a Texas-like resurgence, the tradition, facilities, alumni/fan demand and, now, a credible enough coach -- are all in place at ND. What separates championship teams from those that might also have these attributes is at least 20 elite players a year, full stop.
We need the Carters, Burrises and Bryant Young's of today conveyor-belting into South Bend every year if we are to succeed along the lines Mack Brown did.
No matter how great a coach Leahy was, he would never have gone undefeated over four years without Connor, Hart, Fisher and Martin all playing on the same line. We know this from what happened in 1950, when the WW II vet pipeline ended.
Same thing happened to Holtz when Cerrato left.
ND can do exactly what Texas has done and has a decent shot at it -- provided it gets the players. The guys who in the past 20 years went elsewhere.
I would be more specific in rejecting the Big 10 and Delaney. Delaney has developed a football schedule that would reduce ND to a Big 10 region team. I believe he knew exactly what he was doing: what is best for current Big 10 schools and what would reduce ND to permanent mediocrity. He either does not want ND in the Big 10 or he wants to damage ND. Either way, there is no way (IMO) ND joins the Big 10.
We are on our way to getting those top 20 recruits every year. Which means of course we will be able to contend most years.
The reasons are two fold:
1) we have the tradition
2) we have the academics,
Just review comments from almost every recruit and they will cite the same mantra: "Notre Dame has tradition and at Notre Dame I will get an education and earn a degree that will last forever."
This might be the best analogy you've made yet, Lou. Many similarities btw the Texas Program post Fred Akers and the ND program post Lou Holtz. I happen to believe that BK could be to ND what Mack Brown has been to UT- a coach that won on a smaller scale everywhere he had been prior to being named head man at a blue blood program and becoming one of the premier national recruiters.
My luck w/the Irish 18-6...GO IRISH!!!
ND and Alabama also run close together in terms of winning periods
5 Time POTW--Gringo Mafia Director of Guerrilla Warfare
Indeed, here is the story I did on that.
Crimson (Tide) & (Irish) Clover
By Lou Somogyi
When Alabama celebrated its national title victory against Texas last January, maybe it was a positive sign for Notre Dame that its football fortunes are on the threshold of better days. The two traditional powers have seen their histories woven with remarkable symmetry over the past 85 years. Here are some examples:
1920s: Rise To Power
Notre Dame: Under Knute Rockne, wins its first national title in 1924.
Alabama: Under Wallace Wade, wins consecutive national titles in 1925-26.
1930: Grand Finale
Notre Dame: Rockne’s final season finishes 10-0 with a consensus national title.
Alabama: Wallace’s final season finishes 10-0 and gains a split of the title with the Irish in the Parke Davis rankings.
1931: The Protégés
Notre Dame: From 1931-53, former Rockne players Elmer Layden and Frank Leahy lead the Irish to a 132-24-12 [.821] record and four national titles.
Alabama: From 1931-46, former Rockne player Frank Thomas guides the Crimson Tide to a 115-24-7 [.812] mark and two national titles.
1950s: Crazy 8s
Notre Dame: In an eight-year period from 1956-63, the Irish are 34-45 [,430].
Alabama: In an eight-year period from 1951-58, the Crimson Tide is 34-44-8 [.442].
1964: Ara & Bear
Notre Dame: In 1964, Ara Parseghian leads the Irish to a 9-0 record and No. 1 ranking before losing in the closing minute of the finale at USC, 20-17.
Alabama: In 1964, Bear Bryant guides the Crimson Tide to 10-0 and No. 1 before losing in the closing minute of the Orange Bowl finale versus Texas, 21-17.
Note: Because the AP and UPI did not vote after bowls back then, Alabama was declared the national title winner by those polls, while Notre Dame won the MacArthur Bowl from the National Football Foundation, also emblematic of a national title.
1964-80: Glory Days
Notre Dame: 148-33-5 [.809] with three AP national titles.
Alabama: 165-32-4 [.831] with four AP national titles.
Note: The Irish are 4-0 against Alabama during this stretch.
Notre Dame: In 1988, third-year head coach Lou Holtz leads a 12-0 record with a ground-oriented attack, highlighted by a victory over No. 1/defending champ Miami.
Alabama: In 1992, third-year head coach Gene Stallings leads a 12-0 record with a ground-oriented attack, highlighted by a victory over No. 1/defending champ Miami.
1997: On The Defensive
Notre Dame: Irish defensive coordinator Bob Davie is hired as a first-time head coach to succeed Holtz, but is fired after five years.
Alabama: Tide defensive coordinator Mike DuBose is hired as a first-time head coach to succeed Stallings, but is fired after four years.
Hired … But Never Coached
Notre Dame: Veteran head coach George O’Leary is hired in December 2001, but is fired before he coaches a game.
Alabama: Veteran head coach Mike Price is hired in December 2002, but is fired before he coaches a game.
Weis & Shula: Amazing Parallels
Notre Dame: Irish alumnus Charlie Weis is hired after working as an NFL offensive assistant. He comes from an esteemed NFL pedigree [Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick], is given a 10-year contract extension in 2005, never beats his archrival [USC] and finishes 26-24 in his last four seasons.
Alabama: Crimson Tide alumnus Mike Shula is hired after working as an NFL offensive assistant. He comes from an esteemed NFL pedigree [Don Shula], is given a six-year contract extension in 2005, never beats his archrival [Auburn] and finishes 26-23 in his four seasons.
2008: Recruiting Renaissance
Notre Dame: Its recruiting class is ranked No. 2, to Alabama, but moves to No. 1 in some services after the summer when several Tide players become ineligible.
Alabama: Its recruiting class is the consensus No. 1, until the Irish slip ahead in some services later that year.
In 2009, Alabama did its part to turn around its sagging fortunes on the field over the last decade by winning the national title under third-year head coach Nick Saban. Will Notre Dame eventually follow suit under new boss Brian Kelly?
Lou you deserve a pulitzer on your writing. Excellent as always and lets hope the fabric stays tightly woven. Maybe Kelly can continue the similarities with Alabama.
And ESPN is posting your articles again. I don't think Matt Fortuna has done an honest days work in months
Lou another excellent and thought provoking article.If the Big 12 is really willing to allow Notre Dame to compete in the league with it's Olympic sports teams and stay independent on football they need to make this move in the near future.The Big East'sdays are numbered.
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