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Even with a four-team playoff that begins in 2014, it’s still quite difficult to finish the regular season in the top four.
You prompted a couple of thoughts, neither of which challenges your
fundamental point that to reach a "final four" in football is not an easy task.
First, the period 1969-2012 also happens to cover, arguably, the
two worst coaching experiences in Notre Dame football history,
namely the Gerry Faust era (5 years) and the Davie, Willingham, Weis
fiasco (13 years). So, while we had the services of Hall of Fame coaches
for the majority of the period, in 18 of those years we
were in the proverbial wasteland, in effect, playing with one hand
tied behind our backs.
Secondly, I seem to recall that once upon a time, in the
distant past, you put pen to paper and wrote that what
Notre Dame fans "should" expect to see is a national
title run by ND once every 5 years or so. I am struck by
the accuracy of that comment made some 25 years ago
in the light of the facts set forth in your most recent effort.
What you have written is simply a sobering reminder to all
of us that going undefeated and vieing for a national championship
(as occurred in 2012) is not something to take for granted, not
something to minimize, not something to complain about. Folks,
it simply doesn't happen that often.
And, for my cent and a half (I'm not wise enough to offer
two cents), your article only demonstrates the reality
that Notre Dame should hang on for dear life to a
a coach who can assemble a coaching staff that can
build a program that goes undefeated, plays for the national
championship and apparently is laying the groundwork for
that level of play to continue in the immediate future.
So often, sadly, there are many, in and out of the
ND administration, who seem to ignore the testimony
of history and fail to understand both the truth of
what you wrote and the accomplishments of BK and
his staff (the "Kelly-Diaco" team). To me, not to recognize that at
Notre Dame, the "wilderness years" are but a wrong-headed decision
away is to place the program in mortal peril.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by hemy on 5/9/2013 at 10:03 AM
Great article. One point though that wasn't mentioned, is that during this period, there were conference tie ins that left ND, by virtue of being independent, the best path to playing the most meaningful game. This concept also affected regular season scheduling, as only the independents played a really cross sectional schedule. During that period, the National Championship argument was dominated by the independents- ND, Miami, Fl State, Penn State, all played prominent roles and at least one of them was in the argument every year. The Rose Bowl never really played a role as the dream scenario of the number one and two being from those two leagues never really panned out and the Alabama's Oklahoma's etc usually had to vie against the top independent in much more meaningful game. The sure money and regressive nature of the league tie ins kind of ruined what was the best sport by far. Personally I loved the fact that "number one" was open to opinion and don't buy in to the idea that every sport has to have a late year championship tournament. I think there were four or five times in the last century that there were split "championships" and they are no more controversial than those instances where someone feels they were robbed. I think there is a little false logic in the whole concept that the playoff is more accurate. The argument is that the best teams play each other instead of the champ getting voted in. But the flaw is that the "best teams" are by vote, so if the vote is so flawed, how does diluting it make it any better? It would be refreshing to hear everyone admit that they prefer a contrived playoff to hype a super bowl type feeling. But I dread the electioneering and manipulating that is going to go down. In the days I spoke of above, every game counted, there were league championships that really meant something and regional rivalries probably outweighed the call for a "national" game. We are going to see it formulated into a clumsy imitation of the NFL and it makes me sad.
Obviously in the new format, losing your final game will result in not being included in the Final Four (unless you are a #1 ranked SEC team.) It's going to be difficult for ND since we finish on the road in CA every season.
Last year was truly special. We just needed one more star to align...K-State to win in Waco vs Baylor.
This post was edited by simm on 5/9/2013 at 11:38 AM
My luck w/the Irish 20-6...GO IRISH!!!
Hemy, Well said outstanding points of reality. Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember all of those years and go back a few more.
Kelly et al can flat coach. They must continue to recruit and players must not leave early for the NFL. If both happen, we can expect a golden era in ND football. If either does not happen, no NCG's.
It depends on what you mean by "leaving early." If Stephon Tuitt turns pro after his junior year and putting in his first three years of eligibility without yet finishing his degree, that's what I define as "leaving early."
If you're thinking Louis Nix III leaving early after he has attended school for four years, receiving his degree (possibly this December) and opting not to exercise the option to return for a fifth year, I don't define that as "leaving early." Chris Zorich, Jeff Faine, Justin Tuck, Anthony Fasano et al didn't leave early. They picked up their degrees and were ready to move on with their lives.
From your era, I vaguely recall John Huarte saying that both he and Jack Snow could have had a fifth year in 1965 because of an injury situation earlier in their career, but that Father Hesburgh indicated it's time to move on with their lives with their degrees. I'm not certain of its accuracy ... but you think that would have made a difference on that '65 team that lacked a passing attack?
This post was edited by Lou Somogyi on 5/10/2013 at 5:36 AM
Amen brotha! ND Nation needs to take a few breaths b4 unloading on Kelly et al. (most recently in the NFL coaching episode). Kelly is the real deal. Lets chill and enjoy!
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