This Is Not Your Grandpa's Notre Dame Anymore!

Paul SalmanSenior Analyst IApril 30, 2008

Notre Dame will not be playing Rutgers in a six game series because Rutgers will not agree to play its home games at Giants stadium. Well, that sounds about right to me!

Why should Rutgers play its "home" games at a stadium that will obviously attract every northeastern Notre Dame fan (and there are plenty in the NY area)? Why should Rutgers be asked to move its players to an unfamiliar locker room?

Rutgers expanding its football stadium, and it will hold around 56,000 people. The school needs to promote this stadium and sell seats. What could be a better way for a growing program to increase revenue and exposure than to have Notre Dame play its newly-renovated campus stadium? It would energize the entire RU community, and having the game on national TV wouldn't hurt either.

Rutgers is in New Jersey, which is rich with high school football recruits from schools like Don Bosco, St. Joe's and Ramapo. Schools like Notre Dame and Penn State have been stealing these recruits for years. With their new facilities on display on national TV, Rutgers could begin to keep these kids in state. Notre Dame fears that possibility and doesn't want to allow Rutgers to grow.

The opportunity to show off the new facilities obviously will not happen if this game is played at Giants Stadium. That would ultimately just be a Notre Dame home game.

Notre Dame needs to understand it is not what it once was. The Irish have not won a bowl game since their 24-21 Cotton Bowl victory over Texas A&M on Jan. 1, 1994. They have been obliterated in most of their bowl games since that victory. In 2007, they lost to Navy for the first time in 43 years. Oh, and to top it all off, NBC's ratings for Notre Dame games are down 27% since 2000.

Notre Dame of course is not the only school to have these issues. Many schools in the North are feeling the effects of kids starting to want to play at warm weather schools. It used to be only the northeast schools would be on TV so kids had to go play there in order to make the NFL. Now with cable and satellite TV able to bring every game to every home, these kids can go anywhere and succeed.

Notre Dame is the most followed school nationwide though, so its fall from glory is the most significant. Is it now scared to get embarrassed on national TV by a young up-and-coming program?

Notre Dame agreed to play a series of football games with the Big East. The school has stated that it would prefer to play at Giants Stadium for recruiting and alumni purposes. Well, I say it cannot just make every game beneficial only to them.

This is not the 1930s anymore where schools will do anything to play Notre Dame to gain exposure. Well, maybe some will (i.e. UConn, who agreed to play Notre Dame at Foxboro Stadium), but not all schools feel this way. This is not your Grandpa's Notre Dame.

Maybe Rutgers rebuttal to this unreasonable Notre Dame request should be that the Notre Dame home game be played at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. I wonder how Notre Dame would feel about playing without touchdown Jesus looking over them!