Bowl Bull: The Myth of Notre Dame’s Preferential Treatment

As I watched Ohio State lose to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, putting the finishing touches on the Big Ten’s current six-game BCS Bowl losing streak, I got to thinking. And when I get to thinking, that’s never a good thing.

One of the favorite semi-annual topics of conversation in the college football world is whether or not Notre Dame “deserves” its bowl bid. Oh sure, I could be a realist. I could point out to the armchair pundits that the college football post-season is little more than one game that matters plus 33 exhibition games. I could point out that this reality merits bowl organizers think about the economics of their bowl picks and thus they don’t take the Notre Dame brand lightly. I could point out that Notre Dame’s appearance in this season’s Hawaii Bowl garnered a 104% jump in television ratings and a 46% jump in attendance—the largest year-to-year increase of any 2008-09 post-season bowl and a Nielsen share and attendance figure exceeding this year’s ACC Championship game. Then again, I could just point to the Hawaii Bowl box score and ask if anyone still thinks Notre Dame didn’t deserve to be in that game.

What’s that? You’re talking about the larger bowl picture? About Notre Dame’s preferential treatment when it comes to the BCS Bowls? Okay then, I’ll bite on that conspiratorial load of bull as well.

The BCS bylaws state, and I quote,

Notre Dame will be guaranteed one of the at-large slots in a BCS bowl if it is ranked No. 8 or better in the final BCS standings.

This lone “Notre Dame clause” is usually what gets all the Irish haters’ panties in a bunch. Mark May, Michael Wilbon, Jason Whitlock, John Saunders, Jay Mariotti, any and all residents of the greater Ann Arbor area—they collude to weave this vast hypocritical tapestry that paints Notre Dame football as overrated and coddled by the BCS.

I’m not going to dispute the overrated part. The reality is that any ounce of Irish success on the gridiron gets bowl organizers’ mouths frothing. ND rarely has the luxury of being Boston College or Purdue and always getting invited to crappy bowls versus crappy opponents because nobody wants to see us play. Let’s be honest, Notre Dame hasn’t been above a Gator Bowl-quality team for the last 15 years, and yet there we’ve been, time and again—overmatched in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl versus Oregon State, overmatched in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl versus Ohio State, and overmatched in the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus LSU. What would you have ND do in these situations? Turn down the bowl invite? Turn down the money? Accept yet another invite to yet another obscure December bowl game like BC does and whine for the next eight months about how we get no respect while bragging about how we hung 51 points on the mighty Toledo Rockets in a Motor City Bowl nobody watched?

Like I said, overrated—guilty as charged. But coddled? Give me a freaking break.

These are the facts, and they are indisputable:

FACT #1 — In the 11-season history of the BCS, 10 teams with three or more losses have played in BCS bowls.

FACT #2 — Since 1996, Notre Dame has never been extended an invitation to the Rose, Fiesta, Orange or Sugar Bowls after three or more regular season losses.

FACT #3 — Not including Notre Dame, in the 11-season history of the BCS 19 teams ranked outside the Top 8—the minimum threshold ND is now required to meet for any automatic BCS bid—have played in BCS bowls.

FACT #4 — Of these 19 BCS bowl teams ranked outside the Top 8, 13 were ranked outside the Top 10, four were ranked outside the Top 20, two were unranked, and 12 were ranked lower than any of the three ND teams that have accepted a BCS bowl bid.

FACT #5 — Notre Dame’s BCS rankings prior to its three BCS bowls were, respectively, #11 for the 2000-01 season, #6 for the 2005-06 season, and #11 for the 2006-07 season. While the media cried “foul” in both 2000-01 and 2006-07, they never bothered to vet the actual BCS bowl rules, which not only extended automatic invites to BCS conference champs, regardless of record, but capped BCS bowl participation at two teams per BCS conference. In lieu of pulling their heads out of their asses and holding the real culprits accountable–i.e. the BCS conference commissioners–the media took the predictable route and just blamed Notre Dame. Never mind a lower-ranked 3-loss Purdue had backed its way into the 2001 Rose Bowl after being handed a Big Ten title by default, never mind that according to the BCS rules there were only two other eligible teams besides ND, the Irish were somehow magically shafting everyone.

Simply put, one or two conference champions EVERY YEAR have not met the standard applied to Notre Dame by the BCS rules, and yet the media is strangely compliant. Don’t believe me? Again, these are the facts, and they are indisputable:

2008-09 — Cincinnati (BCS ranking #12), Virginia Tech (#19)
2007-08 — West Virginia (#9), Hawaii (#10), Illinois (#13)
2006-07 — Oklahoma (#10), Wake Forest (#14)
2005-06 — West Virginia (#11), Florida State (#22)
2004-05 — Michigan (#13), Pitt (#21)
2003-04 — Miami (#9), Kansas State (#10)
2002-03 — Florida State (#14)
2001-02 — Maryland (#10), LSU (#13)
2000-01 — Purdue (unranked)
1999-00 — Stanford (unranked)
1998-99 — Wisconsin (#9), Syracuse (#15)

Striking, isn’t it? And yet, when an 8-4 Florida State goes to the Sugar Bowl, the media says, “Sorry folks, those are the rules.” When an 8-3 Stanford loses to Texas by 62 points and to San Jose State (at home) but still manages to coast through a weak Pac Ten, they can’t see past the coach’s skin color to acknowledge his team as an undeserving paper tiger. When an 8-3 Purdue gets rewarded a Rose Bowl for essentially sucking the least in the Big Ten, they pat the conference commissioners on the back and say, “It could be worse.” And then, in the 2008-09 BCS bowl season, it IS worse, as college football fans watch a half-empty Orange Bowl pair two teams, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati, whose collective BCS rankings are lower than the TCU-Boise State matchup in the oh-so-storied San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Is it too much to ask for an ounce of journalistic integrity? How is that a 9-4 Virginia Tech is merely “adhering to the BCS guideliness” when they accept their bogus 2009 Orange Bowl invite, while in back-to-back seasons a two-loss Notre Dame is the subject of every conceivable are-they-deserving and ND-doesn’t-matter editorial hatchet job for doing nothing more than adhering to these same exact guidelines? Just a suggestion, but perhaps the ESPN-fueled peanut gallery needs to first get off its high horse before telling the ND faithful to get off ours.

I’m not asking you guys to like Notre Dame—that’s never going to happen. But it would be nice to see a modicum of acknowledgment that you’re as full of crap as we are. It would be nice on just one Saturday evening to turn on ESPN College Gameday and not have the urge to send my fist through Mark May’s chest cavity.

Happy New Year…and Go Irish!

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  1. Notre Dame is a quasi-member of the Big East (they belong for all other sports), and my impression was that they were entitled to take any of the Big East’s bowls. I think this has been a subject of controversy for Big East fans for quite some time, allowing ND the benefits of Big East affiliations without actually having to commit to joining the conference for football. LMake ND join a football conference and play by the rules like every other school has to, or else be totally ineligible for post season bowl games.

  2. MAC,
    The founding dates of the conferences are meaningless. Many of the teams currently in them were not in them before the mid 90s. The Big 10 and the Pac-10 are the only ones mostly in tact. The SEC has a bunch of SWAC teams in it. Remember that old conference that had Texas, Arkansas, SMU, A&M, etc. No one lost sleep over it’s break up. And let’s not forget those traditional ACC powers, Miami FSU, BC, and VTech. OH,yeah they were independents in the 80s. And the WAC has been a conference of great history and lore. Are you kidding? Look the folks down south would cheer, scream, and brawl if you told them 15 minutes before the game that you were replacing the football game with a tractor pull or a nascar race. They just want to get drunk and get nuts. Out West, there is no sense of tradition. They’ll be happy and peaceful with anything. the upper East coast is more about basketball. And that leaves the midwest. Well our dreary winters will leave us desparate for anything. No, there’s no argument that will convince me you couldn’t change the whole system and still have highly loyal rabid fans.
    Otherwise, MAC, your argument would force all teams back to the state they were in in the 80s and we’d go back soley to polls. I’m OK with that, but it seems less likely than moving forward to an equal opportunity playoff system. Only way to do that is to re-align all conferences to have the same number of teams and every conference winner gets a shot at the title.

  3. JC,
    I like your reply to MAC. Ohio State fans do not have class. I know they have threatened clerics. Sorry, but football is great fun, nothing more. It like any sport can be used to build character, but physically threatening other fans over a game shows warped priorities. OSU belongs with the southern schools that allow beer bottles to be thrown during drunken brawls INSIDE their stadiums. I may rag on the PAC-10, but at least their fans have enough of that ZEN surfer attitude to be pleasant about it. I’d like to see ND fans get a little more chippy, but sttll keep the class. Once all the AARP aged fans turn their tickets over, I think that will happen.

  4. JC,
    I agreed with Irisheye62, although I’m always a bit skeptical on lavishing the “good” term on football coaches in the modern era. but among the bunch, Urban seems like he tries to do the right thing. Doing the right thing is a lot easier at ND.
    But my comments about his probability of coming to ND being low, speak to the chances of the necessary sequence of events. 1. Weis has to leave at the same time Urban is looking to move on. 2. ND has to forget that Urban spurned them before. ND does not want a second public turn down. 3. Urban needs to feel the time is right. And he needs to feel that coming to ND is a better move from building an unparalleled legacy at Florida. 4. ND has to feel that Urban won’t be oversatisfied with his Florida legacy. I’d hope he’d be as hungry for National Championships at ND. It can’t be a job of, “Oh well we won at Florida and bent a few rules. Can’t do that here at ND, but 9 or 10 wins most years and talking about how wonderful the ethics and morals are, is good enough” No we need a fanatic who will run a VERY clean program but is highly committed to win for the Lady on Top of the Dome. I’d support Urban if he was as committed to the idea of Notre Dame as Holtz, Parseghian, Leahy, and Rockne were.

  5. C-Dog,

    Irisheye62, is correct about Urban being a good man. Look for Urban to be here after this upcoming season. Tebow is back for a third Championship drive if he rehabs the shoulder well.

    And of course that is contigent upon how CW’s season goes. But, 2010 not that far off.

    I think if Urban wins a 3rd, he’ll make the jump to ND if the job is available.

    Considering his wife’s comments on ND, he’s good to go whenever.

  6. Mac,

    What’s all this sanctimonious sensationalism over conferences? Speaking of any arbitrary litmus test? You must mean your personal ambiguous litmus test.

    Ok, strap this on, if it isn’t about the money as C-Dog so accurately stated; then why is the so-called special fabric Big Ten in reality the Big 11? Oh and don’t tell me they were worried about trademark infringement, too close to 12? LOL, it is all about lining their pockets period. So take the money and run under the disguise of misnomenclature, yeah right, impeccable heritage, LOL.
    Sorry, that BS Diatribe does not fly.

    Further, you may think you have a logically deceptive argument for passionately being in Ohio State’s Stadium
    to chastise our fans, I’ve been there and I’ll pass on those passionate pigs, not the place to take your childern or grandchildern. I’ll take ND stadium everyday of the
    week! One would only have to seek these realities from an experienced psychologist.

  7. @irisheye62,
    I understand the Ohio State thing. I still can’t understand why they have to call it, “The Ohio State”. Do people down there get confused? Really it’s the same everywhere you go. The locals talk about their team………..AND NOTRE DAME.
    Your man Urban may truly be an upstanding guy, even if his chances of the right timing to come to ND are slim to none. His statement about ND being what college football is all about is so true. If ND ever really does become irrelevant, than college football will be irrelevant.

  8. C-Dog:
    Interesting take on the tradition of the conferences.
    Well Stated and true.
    The conversation HAS been lively and divergent.
    I take credit ( or blame)
    as Ohio State’s Media blitz said much of the same in years that ND was in a BCS bowl. As a matter of fact, the point of digression
    ( if you can call it that)
    referred to the North High Street Institution CONSTANTLY bashing ND week in and out in every sports season. The bantering is not always about football. It is about Notre Dame -good and the flip side -even when the Irish are not the schedule of either men’s or women’s sports in the
    season of that sport.

    As far as your proposition –it is food for thought.
    Your accuracy about the Big 10 ( 11) and the Pac 10 and the Big 8 are true. Same goes for the SWAC and all the rest.
    Food for thought indeed.
    The SEC is STILL and always has been my favorite conference as far as great games and a talented top heavy conference.
    I am glad for Florida that they won. * Despite what some may say about Urban–it is all good to me!
    Thank you, in advance, for reading this!
    GO Irish!

  9. The Big Ten was founded in 1896. The Pac-10 was founded in 1915. The WAC was founded in 1931. The SEC was founded in 1933. The MAC was founded in 1946. The ACC was founded in 1953. Conferences are a historic part of the fabric of college football, no matter what arbitrary litmus test you try to put on them.

    And if you think gutting the Big Ten, Pac-10 or SEC would “enliven regional interest,” you need to seek licensed psychiatric attention IMMEDIATELY. In terms of flat-out passion, I’d take a half-full stadium in Tuscaloosa or Columbus over a full Notre Dame Stadium any day of the week.

  10. Looks like the conversation has been lively if divergent.

    I stand by my proposition. I offer it not as an absolute but MAC, be serious, there is nothing traditional about the conferences. The Big 12, Big East, C-USA, SEC, ACC all have no real history with the teams currently in them. Of the BCS conferences, only the PAC-10 and the Big Ten ( 11) have some tradition. Claim tradition then you better break up the Big 12 to the old SWAC and the Big 8, Kick all the old independents out of the ACC and any SWAC teams out of the SEC, and break up the Big East entirely. So the tradition argument doesn’t wash unless your attention span for history is that of a 5 year old.

    If it’s all about money, my proposition would enliven regional interest at a time when I bet real interest is waning.
    Once the Depression hits and 20% are unemployed, the NCAA better look at everything, including ticket prices, and a way to put people in the seats of the teams like Wyoming, Fresno State, East Carolina, Marshall, etc. Those teams get some excitement in a good year but not consistently. A bad economy is going to force change anyway and I’d bet anything will be on the table.

  11. Vakelo:
    You have stated an interesting observation
    regarding the amount of money Notre Dame receives because of its participation in the BCS. That said, EACH and EVERY school would do the same thing if the status of that instituion were an Independent. This is good business on the part of Notre Dame-nothing more or less.
    It is no skin off the noses of the jealous administrations of Universities whose representatives do not have to be saavy due to the fact that they are in conferences.
    They would play the same card ND has to IF they WERE saavy enough as an Independent.

  12. irisheye62 – Agreed 100%. To be fair to OSU, there are some positives I should add. They are running their lacrosse program in an exemplary fashion. (No I’m not being sarcastic.) As a former college lax player and OSU opponent, they have built their program admirably. Plus, Tressel does his best to support the lax program by having them play in Ohio Stadium after the football spring game. So, aside from the NCAA tourney, they are the only lacrosse team to play in front of 50,000 fans – great exposure for the sport of lacrosse! So anyway, I am just showing my objectivity here OSU fans. I have no hatred for the school or athletic programs. It’s your delusional behavior that I hate! It’s ok though Buckeye fans, we at UHND will pray for you. One of my Rosary beads is for you….GO IRISH

  13. JDH:
    “FIre one more round for effect!” LOL
    You are right.
    You stated things better than I! It is true!
    For ND fans ( and others who may have been on this site)
    you will be in utter disbelief if you go to an OSU outing in nearly every sport.
    JDH youare correct. They get their asses handed to them when they play outside of OHIO and outside the numerically misnamed ” Big 10″ ( 11)!
    Can you imagine if Notre Dame played Younstown State AND Ohio University or Akron in the SAME year of even once?
    Please! OSwho??????

  14. Sorry, it was 1.3 million not 1.5. My bad.

    “Under the new BCS arrangement Notre Dame will be guaranteed one of the at-large slots in a BCS bowl if it is ranked No. 8 or better in the final BCS standings. It is also guaranteed annual payment for its participation in the BCS. In those seasons in which the Irish play in a BCS bowl game, the school will receive $4.5 million (an amount equivalent to that received by a conference that places a second team in a BCS bowl). In those seasons in which Notre Dame does not play in a BCS bowl game, it is projected to be paid $1.3 million for its participation in the BCS arrangement.”

  15. You forgot to mention the part where ND gets 1.5 million every year that it DOESN’T get into the bsc series.

  16. irisheye62- You are dead on target. Fire one more round for effect! I have said this many times: “I know alot of people from alot of different backgrounds. People who come from private colleges, public colleges, state schools, Ivy Leaguers, people LIVE their loyalty to their school(s). That is all well and good – it’s what makes college/college sports great. But I am not aware of ANY fanbase that really compares with Ohio State. And I’m only an hour from IU. I am swarmed by IU basketball fans who, from time to time, can get pretty damn old. But they don’t come CLOSE to Suckeye fans. As I have told my brother-in-law from time to time: if he really loves Ohio State, he should talk less about them, as he’s not the best ambassador for the school. I think ALOT of OSU fans fall into that category. The best thing they can do is to pipe down and learn a little class. Buckeye fans reflect horribly on their school, in general.

    Ohio State is the big kid in their own backyard. As soon as they leave their comfy little Big 10, they get their asses handed to them, time and time again. I was suprised the Texas game was so close.

  17. Speaking of firebrand issues, here’s my 2009 prognostication inline with the AD’s expectations. We need to go 11-1 with only a single digit loss to USC to be in the discussion for a National Title.

    Ardent critical review is a way of life with ND football, so this 5th CW year is the year to put up or CW can hit the road back to the NFL. We did not write in the contract we will teach you how to be a COLLEGE head football coach until you get it.

    So, that equates to an expected 12-1 National Title season this year. And for all you low expectation guys; Go watch swimming this year.

    Gooooooooooooooooooooo Irish!

  18. Re:ERROR

    OSU should been MUCH-not UCH better with 28 seniors ( or some number close to that)

    One more fact of OSU media.
    “This is our year. Losing to FLorida and LSU, we have come back to finish the job and get it done and win a national championship!”
    ( while opening with Youngstown State and struggling to Ohio Univerity of Athens, OHio from the MAC! )
    OSU LINEMAN -name not written for obvious reasons
    Obvious arrogance on an OSU’s
    players part-don’t count your chickens before they hatch!

  19. JC, JDH and all:
    It is nice to know I am not alone. Alas, there are other
    people with another view point other than 15th and High in Columbus!
    It is OK to love one’s team.
    It is an absolute abomination to have disdain for everything else that is not
    your favorite team or institution. THIS –this is why I stand in absolute disbelief of Ohio State day in and day out!
    Furthermore, around here, they say I graduated from
    THE Ohio State University!
    The emphasis on THE–with the long vowel EE giving an air of pretentiousness to the title of the University.
    This is NOT to take away from the hard work of any student at Ohio State, Notre Dame or anywhere else!
    However, do you hear anyone at Notre Dame say THEEEEE
    University of Notre Dame?
    Or–THEEE University of Michigan?
    Furthermore, OSU should have been UCH better with 28 seniors returning and “all that talent”!
    In conclusion,
    I have been an Irish fan since the age of 4(or before LOL)–a realist without being a cynic. I question
    some decisions of the University with regards to hiring the head coaches since Lou! That said, I love the Irish-I do not hate the Bucks as they hate us. I pity their mentality and their vain pride with a non-conference schedule which includes 3 warm up games out of 4,
    a conference which is SURE to have 1/4 of the conference playing poorly, another 1/4 below mediocre and another 1/4 above that and only 1/4 fighting for the top honors.
    This very program with its fan base has an abysmal attitude if they are not recognized right away for nearly everything in this and most every other sport!
    To deny this would be folly!
    To those who were in Columbus when the Irish played the Buckeyes in 95-don’t forget the F–K Notre Dame Shirts!
    This says it all -not only about OSU but the double standard in the BCS.
    May the best team win in tonight’s contest -and in the spirit of Notre Dame being a class act–I mean that.
    ( Unlike that of the Institution on High Street in Columbus, Ohio)
    Thanks all for letting me vent. Great article on the BCS. The truth is exposed!

  20. Mac-
    Do me a favor a re-read the post where i say that teams are not likely to break their conference ties.

    But anyways,
    How do you decide what game to take the +1 from? Look at the BCS Standings at the end of the season:
    1. Oklahoma 12-1
    2. Florida 12-1
    3. Texas 11-1
    4. Alabama 12-1
    5. USC 11-1
    6. Utah 12-0
    7. Texas Tech 11-1
    8. Penn State 11-1
    9. Boise State 12-0

    One plays two naturally, but because of all the other bowl traditions Texas beats Ohio State while Utah beats Alabama. Texas is ranked higher but Utah beat a team that was ranked higher (and by a larger margin of victory). Not to mention USC beats Penn State. So are we going to re-vote and go from there, because then we are just dragging the argument out.

    Thats why i am not a playoff advocate. No matter what people are going to be pissed. Therefore, you pick the system that brings in the most money = BCS. If you want to do a +1 Format thats all good and well, but eventually the season has to end, and someone has to be champion. Meanwhile, teams will always be on the outside looking in.

  21. Find a new board, David? Uh, you do realize I’m a UHND board moderator, right? It’s practically my duty to stir the pot.

    My only point in being argumentative is making sure that we as ND fans show a little more basic football IQ than your average Suckeye tardmonger. Your reference to D2 is inaccurate, plus you’re suggesting we invent an additional problem instead of solving the one we already have. How can I NOT argue with that?

    Let’s say we go your route. Screw Div I-AA because, as you say, nobody really cares about it. Screw trying to resolve all the conference tie-ins and rivalries will be busting up. Now, what problem does reducing the number of I-A teams to 96 actually solve? We have the 3-4 best teams complaining about getting a fair BCS shake, and having or not having the 24 worst teams stay or leave Div I-A impacts that conversation HOW exactly?

    The issue with the BCS has never been about giving 120 or even just eight teams a fair shot at the national championship. The issue is that while two teams play for a nebulous BCS championship, a couple teams are always on the outside looking in. Look at every season dating back to the first BCS championship in 98. Has there ever been more than four teams with legitimate beefs?

    Going to an 8-team playoff magnifies the problem IMO. The way the BCS system is set up right now, 2-4 teams are left at the end of the season thinking they’re entitled to a title shot. Who gives a crap about teams 5-8? And yet by creating an 8-team playoff, you’re handing teams 5-8 that entitlement.

    Be realistic. Reducing the number of I-A teams is untenable. Realigning the conferences is untenable. Solve the problem that can be solved. Keep the conferences. Keep the bowls. Scrap the BCS. Restore the old conference affiliations in the bowls and the January 1 tradition. And just go to a plus-one playoff that matches up the two best teams after the bowls have been played. You won’t erase all the controversy, but you’ll minimize it. And you’ll maintain that every-game-counts feel of the regular season that is unique to Div I-A college football.

  22. x1000 regarding all comments about Ohio State, its fans, its “culture” etc.

    I was born and raised in Ohio. I have an older sister and brother-in-law who went to OSU. Now their daughter goes there. I can say with total honesty: Never in my life have I seen people act the way the do (and the way they have acted for 40 years) regarding a college/football team. They are without question the rudest, most delusional people I have ever met when it comes to this. And it’s not just football. They LITERALLY think there is something wrong with you if you do not/did not attend OSU. They LITERALLY believe that OSU is the most prestigious academic institution in the nation, perhaps the world. Oh yeah, and of course they DESPISE Notre Dame partly because of this, partly because they are arrogant, secular progressives. Last summer, they made the comment that “They hated ND, among other reasons, because there is no way they graduate the amount of athletes they claim. And OSU’s football team graduates far more etc.” I of course made the mistake of quoting facts, but it didn’t matter. If OSU said the earth is flat, then it is flat. Keep in mind, these are not stupid people. One is a PhD and one was a nurse. They are very successful, morally good people actually.

    But there is something in the water in Columbus, OH which I will never understand. They and their ilk are PRECISELY why I root fervently against Ohio State in every way I can. And that’s sad, because other than their fans, I have nothing whatsoever against the school.

    Their propaganda makes Joseph Goebbels look like a part-time hack.

    Go Irish

  23. JC:
    ( Regarding Jan 6 post at 8:18 P.M.)
    I totally agree!
    I concur!
    “At least we got to a BCS game!”
    I live in Columbus, Ohio and the media bias for OSU is understandable. What is NOT
    acceptable is the anti-blitz towards other teams-most notably towards Michigan, Florida and Notre Dame.
    Ann Arobr is THE rival of course and they are still bitter about having their internal organs handed to them in a BCS title game by Florida!
    The anti-Notre Dame comments include editorials written by “fans” who complained when Quinn-a local Columbus area native -was featured. The rampage of trash writing was incredible. Some comments included “This is disrespectful towards Buckeye Fans!” and on and on.
    This past week, when it was announced that Texas would surpass ND in all time wins -the sarcasm was knee deep from the OSU media.
    As for the numerically misnamed Big 10 conference, I am only sorry that Joe Pa lost to SC and Northwestern lost in overtimeto Missouri! The record of 1-6 of this so called “mighty” conference who will gather BCS money in a big honey pot is a joke!
    Want to see bad sportsmanship?
    Check out the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday with local fans complaining that other sports of ANY level will take over ANY coverage of the Buckeyes. This is YEAR round complaining. Buckeyes eat at Burger King! Cover it! Forget the success of anything else from 9th Grade to other small colleges around! Some even complained about the color of the Blue Jackets may be too close for comfort-
    ( resembling Michigan)
    In one column they said ND
    should not play such cream puffs as Ball State etc.
    I replied and stated ND does not play in state teams from the MAC. That is done by the North High Street Institution!
    The “logic” of State fans is if you live here you like the Buckeyes. If you don’t like it -you can leave. How is that for redneck mentality?
    At the Hoop Basketball Classic, the Indians Hoosier fans noted the usual vulgar display of OSU fans when ND played the buckeyes. The elderly gentlemen behind me said ” The worst fans in the conference!” Bad examples? More than that! Myopic vision on the part of OSU and most of the Big 11 ( 10)? You bet!
    Every word is truth from experience! Ah-the double standard lives!

  24. Well, one thing is for sure, maybe the team who is crowned National Champion is happy for aleast one year with this discombobulated bowl system.

    Further, to embrace change you do have to think outside the box, period. So, drawing lines in the sand is simply counterintuitive.

    It is a valid point to play less games and a smaller top division to achieve a new playoff system for college. Even if it requires another new division to discard the unqualified overflow.

    The only thing that is holding off a new playoff system is the usual money and personal quirk issues.

  25. I love the BCS. Makes more people talk about college football which is exactly what they want. People will never stop watching it, even if you team gets screwed one year. If anything, it draws more non-fans to the game during the end of the season, which is why i dont think it will be going away soon.

    You need to calm down a bit there champ. I call it D1 and D2. Everyone knew where i was going. Secondly, i could give a damn less how many teams are in D2 since there games really arent relevant to anyone except the people that go/went to the school. I think it a joke they even allow D1 teams to schedule D2 teams.

    By the way, every post you make here is in argument of someone else. Save yourself a heart attack and find a new board.

  26. C-Dog,

    I agree on the BCS farce, it would take unusal and extreme measures to correct. It reminds me of the ultimate quagmire, debating politics.

  27. We all agree the BCS is a farce. Utah and Boise State, even TCU have as much claim as any other conference champ. Who even watched the Orange Bowl, unless you think Brian Kelly is a good next coach.
    So I don’t see how you can have a pseudo playoff with just 8 teams or do anything that gives preference to one conference over another. But I also think playing so many games year in and year out is not good for keeping the student in student athlete. I’d favor a playoff with a shorter regular season.

    And I would favor keeping the traditional conferences only if we go back to the old poll system with all it’s debates, etc. With two or three polls recognized, split national championships from time to time are not a bad thing.

    Otherwise I couldn’t care less about traditional conferences. Look they really don’t exist anyway. In basketball the Big East has teams that aren’t in it’s football conference. Schools have jumped conferences. In a playoff system, you’d still have conferences, just no BS. about which are supposedly better. Look, this year, the MWC went 6-1 against the PAC-10, yet for the sake of USC, ESPN talked about how the PAC-10 really was strong. Not until they play in the cold. Same goes for the SEC.

    Well, it’s a mess now, and actually has caused me to watch less college football. Maybe that’s a good thing. But I’ll always tune in to the Irish!

  28. Good lord guys, get your D-I/D-II terminology straight.

    David, it’s kind of hard to accept or reject the new name when you don’t get the old name right. There hasn’t been a singular Division I since the 1970s. From 1978 to 2006 there were two Division I football classifications, Div I-A and Div I-AA. After 2006 these two divisions were renamed (for no particular reason) to Division I/Football Bowl Subdivision and Division I/Football Championship Division. There are two additional NCAA subdivisions in college football that have remained intact over the years–Div II and Div III–plus the NAIA, which is governed completely independent of the NCAA.

    And it’s not as simple as simply dropping 24 teams down from I-A to I-AA. There are a myriad conference tie-ins to think about, on both sides of the coin. What’s more, you’re trying to correct a problem by creating a problem. You might think that 120 is too many teams in Div I-A, but guess what? There are 123 Div I-AA teams. So in essence, your solution to fix Div I-A college football would be to increase the size of Div I-AA to 147 teams.

    As for your Liberty example, JC, I’m glad you don’t think Liberty should be near the higher-tier D-I teams…because they’re NOT near the higher-tier D-I teams. Liberty is not one of the 120 Div I-A teams and is not eligible to play in any bowl game whatsoever.

  29. Not sure what the right formula is for a new playoff system, But it seems like a good idea to have less D-1 teams as a starting point.

    I don’t think D-1 teams like Liberty University are anywhere near the higher tier D-1 teams. Good point David.

  30. They will be hard pressed to get teams to change the conferences they are currently in. If they switch to a playoff, it will probably be the top 8 from the BCS. Even with the playoff, now teams will cry if they dont get into the top 8. Under the current system:If teams want to make the national title, they should schedule hard, win games, and run up the score. That will guarantee your title birth.

    But if the teams decided to restructure the conferences – they should do 8 conferences of 12 (big 12 style) where there are two divisions in each conference. Cut the season to 10 games (where you have to play everyone in your division and 5 more teams of your choice – this will preserve rivalry), play a championship game between divisions with the winner going to playoff. That would be a 14 game season.

    That means 96 teams in the D1 (i wont accept the new name/acronym). The rest should be dropped to D2. There are easily 30 teams that wont ever make it to the big stage in D1, they would have a better shot at D2.

  31. Come on now, C-Dog. We have to be practical about this. I just want to make the Div I-A college football post-season fractionally less stupid. You want to re-invent the wheel.

    Discussing any type of playoff or altered bowl schedule comes with a non-negotiable assumption that you cannot dissolve any of the major conferences. I might be an ND fan who will defend our independence to my dying breath, but I’m not about to diminish the history of conference football on the collegiate landscape.

    The Big Ten was founded in 1896, the Pac-10 in 1915, the SEC in 1933–these are legitimate governing bodies whose opinion has merit. Not to mention, we’re talking about conferences represented not just in football, but in at least 21 different sports by my last count. Do you suggest we create conferences unique to just college football? Or do we re-align 20 different sports just so one sport’s post-season makes a little more sense?

    The Big Ten, the Pac-10, the SEC, the Big East, the ACC, and the Big XII are here to stay, as is an independent Notre Dame and its exclusive TV deal with NBC–the sooner we all accept at least these basic realities, the sooner we can move towards dismantling the Bullshit Championship Series and restoring major college football’s credibility.

  32. @Mac and Irishman,
    To have any system based on polls you need to break out some teams from the conferences and get back the old independents as they were in the 80s. You have enough independents who played among the conferences that the cross pollination allowed you to guage who the best teams really were. Of course there were debates but it was reasonably fair.
    If we go to a playoff system, I say go all the way. Keep the bowls in name, but here is what I would propose.

    1. 15 conferences of 8 teams each. Regional.
    2. Conference play staarts the season. Rivalries in conference happen early.
    3. After the seven game in-conference schedule. Everyone plays 4 games against 4 opponents of other conferences. While you wanted to beat your conference rivals, you now root for them because they help seed you in the Bowl Tournement at the end of the season.
    4. 8 “Bowl” games will start a 16 team tournement. 15 conference winners plus one at large highest ranked non conference winner.
    5. Winners play on New Year’s day in one of Four major bowls.
    10 Then you have the final four, and then the Champs.

    Any thoughts?

  33. And the system will never, ever be fair so long as you have a bunch of people subjectively voting on who they believe the best teams in the country are.

    The only fair way to go about it is a playoff. I’m not sure how it could be implemented, but that’s really the only way to eliminate all this talk of preferential treatment.

  34. Let’s hope Lou doesn’t take a swing at Mark. You have to love the guy, but I don’t want to see him get his ass kicked on TV.

  35. C-Dog, I wouldn’t mind going back to something resembling the old bowl affiliations, something that can get us away from the poll-obscessed insanity while still deciding some semblance of a national champion.

    I would have all the major bowls play on January 1 with the following conference tie-ins:

    * Rose Bowl (Pac 10 champ vs. Big Ten champ)

    * Orange Bowl (ACC champ vs. Big East champ)

    * Sugar Bowl (SEC champ vs. Big XII champ)

    * Fiesta Bowl (Highest ranked At-Large vs. 2nd-Highest ranked At-Large)

    The two highest ranked teams after these bowls then play in a championship game a week later.

  36. I agree with MAC, that ESPN has no political bias. I do think they are anti-ND for two reasons. first they can’t believe NBC beat them to the punch and landed ND. They want us like a vampire wants the leading lady. Second, there is a distain for any school who tries to do things right. It makes most of those guys unconfortable. Look at the Fox, Best Damn Sports Show. A bunch of lecherous couch potatos, glorifying the idea of being out of work and ordering your wench ( insert your own ) to go get you another five beers.
    The idea krept in somewhere in the 90s that it was cool to glorify this along with other punk ghetto or trailer trash culture in sports. ND is the antithesis of that.

    Well Utah, the State, not the school, is about to sue the NCAA and BCS for anti-trust. I hope they win. We’ll either have a playoff with all conferences re’aligned, or we’ll go back to polls.

    Either way, I’ll get my info from this and websites like it. will quickly browse those websites for scores and will watch games. The analysis from ESPN, FOX and others is less professional than Frankie, MAC and the folks here at UHND.

    good work Fellas.

  37. If ESPN was a liberal spin machine, I’d watch it more. That network does nothing but give hourly blowjobs to the SEC, and there is nothing remotely liberal about the Southeastern Conference. Show me an Alabama fan, and I’ll show you a guy who gets his rocks off in the offseason watching guys named Dale and Buckshot make four left turns.

  38. Mac, don’t be a pinhead. You know as well as I that ESPN is a liberal spin machine! This is indisputable!

  39. Fist thru Mark May’s chest….priceless. I giggled the whole way to work this morning picturing that.

  40. Just for the record, while I do believe there is an anti-ND bias in the sports media, I don’t for a second buy into any secularist liberal media conspiracy theory. Please save the right wing paranoia for the conservative blogosphere. Did I mention Bill O’Reilly is an ass?

  41. Mac,

    Excellent points, how about that OVERRATED-LUNATIC-FRINGE Big Ten crowd. Especially, Ohio States’ recent overindulgence in a “Sponge BoB” schedule that should be a stark notice for ND’s new AD. Further, since one of our boo-hoo ND hating nabobs’ so proudly claimed “ND is horrid” after a 38-3 season loss to USC. So what do we call Ohio State after a 35-3 season loss to USC? Not to mention, two straight National Championship BCS Bowl losses: 41-14 Florida and 38-24 LSU and now another BCS Bowl loss 24-21 Texas.

    Anyone at ESPN, NBC, CBS or FOX experiencing any intellectual indigestion over Ohio State?

  42. Love the article and I’m right there with taking out Mark May. He hates us cause he played for sorry ass Pitt. But yeah it should be mandatory to be in the top 10 if you want a BCS bid. I know I’m tired of crappy, boring BCS games with undeserving teams playing in them. Go Irish

  43. No matter what I want to put my fist through USC-loving ND-hating Mark Mays. I hope Lou pops him one someday. I would pay money for that.

  44. To be fair, and as a huge ND fan myself, ND was probably a little over rated in some of the BCS bowl games we’ve been to lately. On the other hand there is no doubt some bias against Notre Dame as a whole since it is a Catholic University with a religious message. There are plenty of voters, coaches and media pundits who dont like that. Even more so in this increasingly secular society. In addition you could make an arguement that much of the criticism labled at Notre Dame comes from this sort of victim mentality on the part of many African American commentators who feel ND pulled the old “Okey Doke” and that the “fix” was in for poor Ty Willingham and have circled the wagons when it comes to bashing ND. Its particularly apparent since the loudest cries are coming from Mark May, Wilbon and Whitlock.

  45. To be fair, Irishman, it depends on what you consider unranked. The BCS rankings were expanded from 15 to 25 in the 2003-04 team, mostly to account for all the crappy BCS conference teams. Purdue was not ranked in the BCS Top 15 when it went to the 2001 Rose Bowl, but would have likely been in the BCS Top 25 given its AP ranking of 15.

    In 1999 Stanford was ranked 22nd in the AP Poll heading into the Rose Bowl, but fell completely out of the rankings after losing to Wisconsin. I believe they are the only Pac Ten team in the modern era of college football to win the Pac Ten and finish the season unranked: yet another feather in Tyrone Willingham’s cap.

  46. I didn’t realize unranked teams had made it into BCS bowls. That’s pretty ridiculous.

    I remember when FSU made it in at 8-4. They were a sorry looking team that year.

  47. @Mac,
    Right on. I would add some related thoughts. Utah was treated by both ESPN and FOX as if they were lucky to be there, even after soundly beating Alabama and proving they are not fluke. Also the Mountain West went 6-1 against the PAC-10.
    It boils down to this, the so called sports journalists have themselves turned into bloggers. These guys collect fewer facts than you all do and we do here on UHND. Their analysis is suspect and seems more just to rile people up.
    After watching last night’s bowl game I came to the conclusion that anyone in the top ten can beat anyone else. And weather forecasting is more accurate. In fact I’m more entertained by Stephanie Abrams of the weather channel than I am by the bozos on ESPN or Fox.

    Now specifically about the Notre Dame hate, I totally agree. Notre Dame is an independent and is a relevant at the very least as the “non-BCS” conferences. Notre Dame has the same stipulations as the non-BCS conferences and per your stats, has made a BCS bowl, only with 10 or more wins and a high ranking. ND gets no better treatment than the WAC, MWC, Conf-USA, etc. It’s just that Notre Dame stands alone.

    Frankly, given what I read and cited about USC and the fact that no one cares, really has me down about college football. Other than ND and a few key games, I’d rather play it with true sportsmen, my kids, or other decent people, than watch people like the sex offenders of USC who get away becausse entertainment trumps ethics and morals. I don’t want my kids learning that. Football is great becausse all of us who played backyard ball made it great, not these freaks and the sports mafia who own them.

    Go Irish! ESPN, FOX, and most of the rest of the NCAA can go stick it!

    1. that is about as well said as it can get. go irish hope all works out well hope all the guys get well enoughh to Play tommie has done a super job for the irish in Dane’s absents . amazing for an 18old kid right out og high school Playing in the big time and doint it well. Screw the Bcs and all the ND haters.

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