The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Monday, October 31, 2011

For the Record

  1. I like Brian Kelly. I like what's he's doing with the ND football program and I like the way he's handled every adverse situation that has popped up during his tenure with a even-keel and level head. He's making individuals, himself included, accountable rather than making excuses. That's a winning recipe.
  2. I like the modernization of the ND football experience. I like them piping in music - it definitely made things appear crazier the last two weeks on television.
  3. I am 100% in favor of field turf. Oklahoma has a pretty good football tradition too, I hear, and they seem okay with field turf. At the pro level, there's some team in Green Bay that also uses the stuff. Seems well-suited for poor climates.
  4. I am 100% in favor of a Jumbotron. It will keep the crowd involved and more active during NBC's interminable television timeouts.
  5. I like the "new" gold helmets. To hell with the traditions of student managers - that dates back to the athletic department being too cheap to pay for getting helmets painted and repaired. Now, they just need matching pants.
  6. I like ND blowing out the service academies - they should manhandle those guys and hang 50+ on them every year.
  7. I like Dayne Crist. He seems like a great teammate and he's got one helluva arm. He's just a terrible quarterback.
  8. I don't like NBC. Mayock is bearable, but Tom Hammonds scares me with his giant head. Flutie - ill-fitting suits and all - is terrible in the studio. He brings nothing to the table.
  9. I don't like the fact that the student union can't standardize on a single color for "The Shirt" and the ND stadium looks like a refugee camp week after week while the crowds for Penn State, Alabama, and Wisconsin look like a unified force. Feel free to mess with the design, but just pick freaking color and stick with it.
  10. I don't think ND needs to or should join a conference for football. No conference is safe. A team agrees to join, then renegs and goes elsewhere a week later. Conferences provide no safety, security, or stability. You're always one team away from the whole freaking thing collapsing which would leave ND... right back where they are today.
  11. I (really, really, really) don't like the tired alumni complaints about the "glory days" and the changes being made or even mentioned. 

Here's the bottom line. ND hasn't had a team contend for a national championship in 18 years. Like it or not, ND football has been largely irrelevant since the advent of the BCS. That means the very players being recruited have NO IDEA of the ND "traditions". They see the Nike teams in their flashy uniforms that change every week. They see the insane locker rooms and facilities at Oregon and Oklahoma State. I'm not suggesting that ND go to these extremes, mainly because I hate those Nike uniforms, but they need to level the playing field. ND can't sell recruits on locale and weather, and they certainly can't sell them on winning. The entire college football landscape has changed so radically from the last time ND truly was competitive that it needs to progress. If that means making changes and risking alienating portions of the fan base, I'm fine with that. If that's what it takes to win, do it. We'll get new fans, the subway alum don't care either way, and I have a sinking suspicion that those very fans who were bitching will come running back after a single successful season.

I follow ND, the Bengals, and the Reds. I need a winning team. Help me, Brian Kelly. You're my only hope...


Teddy said...

Agree on every point.

I am VERY concerned about #10. The Big East is imploding. There are only 5 football teams left. It will lose it's automatic BCS bid in 2013. It may be safe for non-football sports, but I'll bet a lot of more schools will be reshuffling from the Big East. Do we really want to be playing in a crappy conference for other sports - including hoops?

I am also concerned about ND getting an at-large bid for the BCS. That loophole will be closed next time around. Conferences just have enormous power now. They will likely abolish the 2-team limit for conferences at the expense of ND. If that happens - I say go ACC.

Teddy said...

Update: Big East offers bids to 6 schools. I have changed my opinion on conferences as of today.

Do we really want to stay in the Big East anymore? When we joined, this was a SOLID conference. Losing Va Tech, Miami, BC, and now Syracuse, WVU and Pitt has really ripped out the heart of the conference. Our basketball and Olympic sports can do better. Already, the home basketball lineup can be a snoozer. Losing Syracuse, Pitt and WVU and replacing with Houston, SMU and UCF is an AWFUL trade!!! On this fact alone, I would say dump the Big East.

I definitely think this will NOT be enough to keep an automatic BCS bid. That will cause further collapse. We need to get out while the gettin' is good.

Kevin said...

If we join the ACC, we can keep the traditional games against both USC and Navy. These would be good for an out-of-conference matchup with USC, and if we can schedule Navy earlier in the year, it'd be a good tune-up game before hitting a conference schedule.

Plus, the ACC has some traditional rivals in Miami, BC, Pitt, and Syracuse, and includes some other schools that compare favorably in Academics with ND (Duke, BC, Virginia).

While I'd prefer to remain independent, I think that losing a tie-in to the BCS is possible, and that the Big East is effectively done. Ted's right, the replacement schools stink.

As a final point, if ND does remain independent and gets excluded from the BCS, it would be another straw in the hat for dumping the BCS in favor of a playoff system. So independence could push a playoff, which would kill the BCS, which would remove the need to join a conference.

Does anyone else's brain hurt from all these assumptions and scenarios?