Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Notre Dame's National Championship Hopes in a NutShell: Albeit a Very Big Nutshell

I am unapologetic about my love for Notre Dame football.

Notre Dame stadium is a simple structure, unobtrusive and unshorn with frills and side show attractions. One simple scoreboard hovers over the south endzone and the press box stands silently on the visitor's sideline as unobstructing as a bird flying overhead. There are no gawdy suites, no garish displays of Notre Dame's glorious history stealing the attention of spectators inside the stadium. Outside, the statues of coaches and players stand in silent reverence, almost pious in their relief. There is a quiet calm surrounding Notre Dame stadium, a hallowedness, an awe-inspiring aura that wraps fan and opponent alike.

There's something classy about the gold helmets and the unadorned uniforms. The simple message every Notre Dame football player passes and embraces before entering the playing field expresses not only a sporting motto, but one that every person can use in every day life: "Play like a champion today." Bring your best, boys, cuz any less would be an affront to your own honor. Notre Dame University asks nothing less. Is it any wonder that a player such as Randy Moss never made it to Notre Dame?

Even the religious spectacle of Notre Dame has an un-put-upon feeling. Sure Touchdown Jesus is seemingly out of place in a world driven by money, cockiness and greed, but the rectors and fans and students and athletes all maintain the Notre Dame tradition of attending mass or making a pilgrimage to The Grotto to light a candle.

And if we're talking tradition, who can forget Knute Rockne or the Four Horseman, Grantland Rice's immortalization in print? Who can forget the golden boy, Paul Hornung, or Heisman winners Johnny Lujack or Tim Brown? Joe Montana is an ND alum, and (with apologies to Unitas and Elway fans) is there a greater QB in history than Joe? Ara Parasegian coached them, and an ND alum was immortalized on film who played in all of one game for two plays for his entire career.

I love Notre Dame football, and I still think they can win the national championship this year, but they'll need a little help from their friends. Here's what must happen for ND to play on January 8th in the BCS championship game.
  • First and foremost ND must win out. They have Navy this weekend and then the biggie: a road game versus USC.
  • Michigan must beat Ohio State pretty handily.
  • USC needs to beat Cal this weekend to maintain top five status.
  • Rutgers must lose one of its three remaining games against Cincinatti, Syracuse or West Virginia (looking like a big game).
  • Florida loses to Western Carolina (not gonna happen) or Florida State (good possibility)
  • Arkansas loses to Mississippi State (yikes) or LSU (most likely) or loses to a two loss Florida team in the SEC Championship game.
I can't see West Virginia or Boise State or Wisconsin or LSU leap-frogging the Irish if the above scenarios play themselves out. However, Ohio State could sneek into the BCS championship game even if they lose a close game to Michigan, and I can't see the Irish leap-frogging the Wolverines if Michigan loses solely because of their bad loss to Michigan early in the season.

So light a candle at your local parish, light a match, light a gosh-dang bonfire for chrissake! And keep your fingers crossed for Old Notre Dame. We just could be singing the fight song in praise of a national championship once again come January 8th.

Rakes of Mallow thinks it's much simpler than that.


Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

Realize that you contradict your own argument. You say that ND can't leapfrog Michigan due to their bad loss to Michigan AT ND! Whether that is neccessarily true is rendered superfluous by your earlier, and I submit, less convincing statement. If Michigan were to beat OSU AND has already whupped ND AT HOME! How does that help ND get past Michigan? Regardless of who wins UM-OSU, it seems your premise is reliant on USC losing to ND. In which case ND would probably have a shot at whoever wins UM-OSU, no? Either ND or streaking, one-loss Florida or possibly unbeaten Rutgers. (Even if they win out Rutgers might fall short in the BCS computer rankings due to schedule strength). Of course, if ND loses to USC this is all your elephant. Plus, never count out the allure of a one-loss OSU vs. one-loss USC match-up. Remember the former Rose Bowl? I would wish ND luck, but no I can't.

12:55 PM, November 16, 2006  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

actually, I heard another arguement saying that if OSU should lose, ND will get the nod cuz OSU's texas win doesn't look as good now and they didn't beat a hot wisconsin team whereas michigan did...it's all speculation, double-u, and I was being devils advocate at the same time

4:53 PM, November 16, 2006  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

Devil's advocate for a Catholic School? Smell the irony from here.

Seperately:Technically you are correct, in the stadium there isn't much ostentation. But outside? A giant TOUCHDOWN JESUS, and a school known for it's golden dome? Hard to even imagine that "crazy" Martin Luther guy ever had a problem with the church's excesses. Glad to see the Roman Catholic's took the hint. Nothing says humility before your god like a big shiny dome with actual gold leaf. God must only punish the gold Calf makers.

Hope you're happy, now I need help getting down off the soapbox again. Stupid Notre Dame.

1:55 PM, November 17, 2006  

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