Besides the calendar, one of the many things that let’s me know college football is really close is that college football radio is now locked in on Sirius XM channel 84 in my car. The other day I was listening to the Mark Packer Show, when I was struck by the comments of a 28-year old Notre Dame Fan.
The basic gist of his argument was that the team had not “returned to glory”. That perhaps Brian Kelly cannot win a National Championship. Though he didn’t want to come off as “entitled” when was he going to get “his National Championship”. To Packer’s credit, he did offer that they were difficult to win. The young man didn’t really seem to be buying that as talked over Packer during much of his comments. To me this kind of drivel is what gives Notre Dame fans bad names among other college football fans. I would also wonder have you been watching Notre Dame football at all recently?
The much ballyhooed return to glory is so oversold and overblown it is a tired piece. What return are people looking for? The Post-World War II era under Frank Leahy? The Lou Holtz era? Dan Devin? Consider the following:
10 Win Seasons at Notre Dame Since Ara
Parseghian (1964-1974) 3
Devine (1975-1980) 1
Faust (1981-1985) 0
Holtz (1986-1996) 5
Davie (1997-2001) 0
Willingham (2002-2004) 1
Weis (2005-2009) 1
Kelly (2010-present) 4
Now to be fair it is obviously a little easier to win 10 games today simply due to the number of games played. That being said no one, other than Lou Holtz, has more 10 win seasons than Brian Kelly. For those keeping score, Holtz won exactly one National Championship (though cheated out of at least one other). The point is fans waiting to see an era like Parseghian or Holtz may be left waiting forever. The climate of college football has changed.
You simply cannot compare Notre Dame
Some people out there might ignore this changing football landscape and point to Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and the SEC. No, Nay, and Never. While not a huge Jim Harbaugh fan, I respected his comments about Urban Meyer. Because he told the truth. “Controversy follows everywhere he’s (Meyer) been”. This includes 31 player arrests in 6 years at Florida and a scandal involving spousal abuse and an assistant coach at Ohio State. If that is the type of fee needed to break through and win a “title” it likely will not happen at Notre Dame. Alabama and Clemson more recently have avoided large scale controversy but also lack the academic credentials of school like Notre Dame or Stanford.
Only the Naysayers are Irrelevant
The battle cry for years with Notre Dame haters has been they are “irrelevant”. The fact is that twice in less than 10 years Notre Dame has been in serious contention for a National Championship. Have they broken through, obviously not. Can they? I have no way of knowing but my gut tells me it will be difficult. However, they are 22-4 in the last two seasons and this year also looks promising. Suppose you go 11-2 this year and win a big bowl game, that puts Notre Dame at a 3-year winning percentage of .846. Is anyone really going to gripe about that? If the answer is yes, you may be in for many years of disappointment. Fact is Notre Dame has been really good recently, a concept that will always be lost on those naysayers in tv and radio land.