Tough Luck; Why Notre Dame Isn't Just Any Other Football Program
Yesterday I got an email from Bleacher Report sending me the latest articles written on football. Usually I don't open the link because it's much of the same things "Is Jimmy Clausen a bust" "Why this game is so important", but when glancing at the headlines I saw a new set of questions and complaints from the Notre Dame faithful on this site.
I saw things like "Fire Coach Weis" and "Unacceptable". This article really is not here to jump on either side of that argument (well, maybe a little), but to talk about why people jump to these thoughts so quickly and how closed minded some fans truly are about this school.
The number one thing that all people forget is that Notre Dame is the single most well known football team in the country. Period. Even if you hate them, you know that when you turn on NBC on Saturday afternoons in the fall you are likely to see the Irish take the field and you're likely to watch even for a little just to see if they will lose. Everyone that follows college football knows the names of Jimmy Clausen and Charlie Weis. The controversy that surrounds both of them, the shoes that both of them have to fill after following legends of the game.
Hate them or love them, they are one of the most important teams in college football. If I didn't have them I don't know who I would watch and if my brother didn't have them he wouldn't know who to hate. The fact that they have 11,12 or 13 National Championships depending on who's side you're on.
That they have 7 Heisman trophy winners, The most players ever to be drafted in the NFL (463 all-time), and still graduates almost 99% of it's football players.
These statistics have nothing to do with who my loyalties lie with, nor are they there for USC fans to say "we have better blah blah blah blah". The point I am making with this is that playing Notre Dame if you are any school in the country is not like playing any other team. You can try and tell me that Michigan Ohio State, Texas Oklahoma or Florida Georgia is a bigger rivalry than Notre Dame has with anyone, but this simple fact remains:
Every game that someone plays against Notre Dame is a rivalry game.
USC, Michigan, Purdue, Michigan St., Pitt, BC, Stanford and Navy are Notre Dame's official rivals, but don't forget about Tennessee, Florida State, Miami and Army. No one else in the country is as hated as Notre Dame is for stealing away wins, defeating top teams and having great teams.
It's like when Michigan lost to Appalachian State, Appalachian State went into that game more fired up then any game i'm sure they played all season. They got a Chance to take down the number 5 team in the country, the team with the highest winning percentage of all college football teams, at the Big House! Was Michigan a bad team that year? No. They ended up beating a really good Florida team (that won the national championship the next year) in a bowl game.
Imagine if every game of the season was like that. Every team knowing that if they beat you they can put themselves on the map that year.
Make no doubt about it, every, one who gets a shot at Notre Dame knows that a win against the Irish goes a long way for the program and they prepare as such. That's why you see teams like Michigan State, and Purdue and Washington play so well against Notre Dame this year. That's why it's so hard for Notre Dame to go undefeated.
I feel the same pain as all Notre Dame fans in our loss to USC, but it seems like unlike everyone else, the game didn't leave such a bad taste in my mouth. It made me hopeful about the future and how good our team will be when Michael Floyd comes back. I am not ready to fire Charlie Weis or boo Jimmy Clausen. For all Notre Dame fans that read this, just have a little faith. Support your team. Try not to talk about who we're not, and let's start talking about who we are.
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