The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remain Calm - and a Look to the Future

I read Ian's post and I know exactly what he means. The biggest difference for me? I have long ago passed beyond the phase that Ian now is experiencing. Losses hurt. They tear me up too, but the gut-wrenching emotions that Ian feels have lessened. I think it is the fact that I was a freshman in 1993 and had to live through FSU and BC on back to back weekends. The highest high in my ND life immediately followed by the lowest low. It will never again be so bad for me. It can't be, because it's somehow different as a student.

The biggest problem I have is with other people. I'm sure you all live around a plethora of Notre Dame haters. They LOVE to rub it in when we lose. I would LOVE to punch them squarely in the face until blood is shooting out of their eyeballs. Unfortunately, it doesn't look good for the doctor to injure his workers in a hospital.

On the other hand, I AM COMPELLED to read everything I can about the game. One or two articles doesn't do it. I want the full-spectrum analysis of the game and what everyone thinks is wrong. I suggest you consider this Ian. Take off Saturday and dig in Sunday while watching NFL. You will get a good picture and it helps loosen up the emotions. Avoid message boards, but go after the articles. I would implore everyone to read the following GEM I found on Inside the Irish:

Irish turnovers are part of the process

This single brief article is the absolute best review of the inglorious start to the 2011 Notre Dame season. I guarantee that if you read it, you will feel better - and perhaps optimistic toward the rest of the season. There is a reason we are still favored over a ranked MSU by 4 points!!! Look, we're not going to a BCS bowl, but there is no reason we can't dominate from here on out and get a nice Champs Sports Bowl bid.


I wanted to also change direction and talk about the future of college football. another gut-wrenching topic for ND fans, but again have hope! Lots is happening behind the scenes right now. We all know that Texas A&M is now accepted into the SEC, after all the legal fees that are coming. This will likely set off another round of earth-shattering conference realignment. I have read confirmed stories that Texas and Oklahoma have had high-level talks about the future of the Big-12. It is also suggested that Oklahoma wants out and will likely be heading the the Pac-12, regardless of what the commissioner says in public. These two things will set off a cascade that I think will almost assuredly force Notre Dame into a conference.

One thing I know about Jack Swarbrick - he is a leader and is out in front of this. I have read unconfirmed articles that he has had discussions with Texas, and even with the Big Ten. I have no doubt he will do what is best for Notre Dame. One thing is for sure, super-conferences are coming. To me that may offer Notre Dame a unique chance to strengthen our position in football. You have probably read a million ideas for the future of college football. Here is mine. Humor me and see if this sounds interesting. The premise here is that the NCAA grows a pair and takes the lead in the future of college football:

1) Create a new division of college football that would include 4 super-conferences. Can we please just rename it Division 1.
The way it looks now: Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten and whomever else can string together the remaining sold teams. 16 teams in each conference.

2) The remaining BCS teams left out in the cold would be D2.

3) Create an NCAA-sanctioned playoff for D1 and a separate playoff for the newly formed D2. Other playoffs would remain unchanged.
This is the key. The NCAA makes millions on the basketball tournament. They would earn billions with a football tournament. They retain control of college sports, make more money, and the rest of college athletics will remain intact - and benefit! Never again will millions be funneled to political cronies running bowls.

4) Eliminate the bowl system.
See above. The system is crooked and broken. A playoff would use a combination of host team stadiums and bowl venues for games. Schools make extra cash when they host a game. Create a "Final Four" or "Final Eight" that would be played at neutral sites.

It would just be so perfect. The super-conferences would essentially become divisions, like in the NFL. Each conference gets, say 3 automatic qualifiers, and then throw in 4 wild cards. All money gets split evenly like in basketball. Extra revenue for highly seeded teams who get home games!

True champion: CHECK
Fair to all: CHECK
Little guys still make money and have a shot: CHECK (D2 champs)

I would have no problem joining a conference under these circumstances. In fact, this could be perfect for ND. Clearly, the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten will be involved. ND could lead the charge in forming the 4th conference. Along with Texas, they could dictate the terms and keep TV contracts intact (for now). Pick up the best of the ACC, Big-12 and Big East leftovers, and we've got ourselves a sweet deal.

Poke a hole in that concept!!!


ian said...

I don't know. I see it going one of three ways...
1. Minor shuffles like we saw last year. Call this a 80% chance.
2. Superconferences like Ted describes. I give this 10%.
3. A new era of independents. Also 10%.

Both 2 and 3 would take awhile to reach. Given the money available in TV contracts for power players - and the advantages TV contracts could provide alongside independence (if you're good) - I think schools like Texas will seriously consider this angle. There are enough solid teams out there that they could schedule one another and then some of the better teams that don't make the super conference cut, e.g. Boise State. I think that 3rd option might be closer to reality than many think.

Teddy said...

It will all come down to money. That's why I say super-conferences will happen.

Texas stands to make great money with The Longhorn Network. However, it is really a regional network. Same with ND. We do well with NBC, and could certainly make some bucks with our own network, but fans are scattered and it would be a tough sell to any local cable network.

Forming a super-conference will just MINT money. Look at the deal the current Pac-12 just got. Can you imagine a renegotiated contract if Oklahoma, Texas, and a couple more schools are thrown in? Look how much the Big Ten Network makes. It makes ND revenue from the NBC deal look like chump change.

Could Notre Dame, Texas or a few other schools go it alone and say screw it, money isn't everything? Yes. But I see no alternative to impending super-conferences. The SEC and Pac-12 already look like they will add members, and that will collapse other conferences. When they arrive, an independent will probably not be able to compete for a national championship. If ND can't have a shot at the title, then our hand is forced.

Teddy said...

PS: Did you read the link? 8 TDs?????????

Come on. Just hang on to the damn ball!!!

Kevin said...

8 TDs... wow! Most people only have 2 TDs.

Kevin said...

Looks like Ted spoke too soon - it looks like the ACC will be the 4th super-conference.