Extracting The Silver Spoon: It's Time For The Irish To Grow Up

Eddie BeckerCorrespondent INovember 12, 2009

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 03: The leprechaun mascot for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs onto the field with a flag before a game against the Washington Huskies on October 3, 2009 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Washington 37-30 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Few topics in the sports world get more nauseating than Notre Dame Football.  It seems like every year regardless of talent level, Notre Dame is discussed with as much fervor as USC, Ohio State, Florida, and Texas. 

The hype we heard before this season began was that the Irish had all the stars aligning for a BCS run: a seasoned quarterback who was prepared to lead, 10 starters returning on offense, and a paltry schedule that bends just enough for the Irish to manage 10-11 wins.

Then, Navy happened.

A team that hadn't beaten the Irish in 40+ games has now won two of the last three against them.  Yikes.  Losses to USC and Michigan are acceptable, Navy not so much. 

Perhaps that loss to the Midshipmen on Saturday afternoon will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.  Perhaps now Irish alumni and passionate media lovers will wipe the steam from the mirror and see the truth: Notre Dame football just isn't relevant anymore.

The thing is, it used to not even be a question.  Notre Dame was the "gold" standard for football back in the 40's and 50's, and even as recently as the early 90's when Lou Holtz helped them win their last national title. 

Now Irish fans celebrate six wins and an appearance in the Hawaii Bowl. 

Don't take this as me having sympathy for these guys.  I have a disdain for Notre Dame just like you do.  That's why I feel now more than ever it's time that we remove the silver spoon from the Irish that they've had for years.  It's time for the Irish to get back to relevance, or drop football altogether.  Here's how they can remove the poser title and get back to football glory:

First, Get A New Coach :  If you want Urban Meyer, then go get him.  Offer him the world and then some.  Loosen the stringent standards a bit so he can get players in there.  If you can't get Meyer, then find a younger coach who has passion.  Don't just drag in some NFL guy that has Notre Dame listed on his resume from somewhere in his past.  The nation is chock full of quality guys that could help to rebuild the Irish football program.  Think Brian Kelly, Gary Patterson, or Chris Petersen.

Secondly, Join A Conference :  Yeah, I know it will cut into your revenues with your lucrative TV contract.  At the same time, think of what the Irish could bring to a conference.  The most obvious one to join would be the Big 10, giving 12 teams the chance to scrap it out and have a title game to determine the conference winner at the end of the season.  Or the Big East, since the Irish already belong there in basketball.  Think of annual games against Ohio State or West Virginia.  Picture the Big 10 Title Game ratings and revenues when Notre Dame meets Michigan for all the marbles.  Regardless, basically every other team plays in one, so it's time to man up and join a conference already.  If you don't join, plan on losing your automatic eligibility for the BCS should you lose more than one game. 

Third, End NBC Contract :  Some things were meant to go together.  Peanut butter and chocolate, beer and hot wings, and blue turf in Boise.  But college football on NBC is like South Park reruns on TLC.  It just doesn't fit.  Of course, it's not NBC's fault the product on the field is unappealing. 

That's it.  Pure and simple.  I don't want Notre Dame Football to go away.  As much as I hate it and its undeserved media attention, college football is better when the Irish field a competitive team. 

Similar to Miami, Michigan, and USC, college football is better when those teams are good.  But those teams are fighting to win with recruits, with fans, with alumni, and with players on the field. 

For too long, Notre Dame hasn't been fighting, they've just been sitting back taking taking handouts.  It's time to grow up Notre Dame.