Sunday, November 08, 2009

Do not speak of Notre Dame again

I know the perils of transitive results in college football. Matchups matter, other externalities may affect results, injuries can happen, etc.

But when it's a one week difference for comparisons, and a number of the externalities would normally work against the point you're trying to make, well, I'll make an exception.

One week ago, Temple (yes, TEMPLE, as in arguably the worst team in FBS this decade, the team that got booted out of the Big East even though all the good teams were fleeing, the team whose current senior class once was part of a 26 game losing streak, the team who opened this season with a home loss to FCS Villanova... that Temple) went on the road and beat Navy. Navy is OK this year, but not great. Temple is probably the biggest surprise of the season in college football, yes, but it was a close win by the Owls.

Yesterday, Notre Dame, at home, ranked and with an excellent chance at a BCS berth, loses to that same Navy team when Heisman wannabe Clausen took a sack in the endzone in the last minute of the game.

Just a couple of years ago, Temple was booted out of the Big East (the same Big East that allows Notre Dame to compete in most sports but allows Notre Dame to hoard their football cash and remain an independent). In 2006, when the current seniors at Temple were suffering through that 26 game losing streak, Temple had to play as an independent before the MAC would allow them to join. Only, unlike Notre Dame, Temple didn't have their own TV contract or preferential treatment from bowls.

Today, Temple can go on the road and do something that Notre Dame can't do at home. The Owls also have a better overall record.

So here's my modest proposal: Notre Dame shouldn't get a single benefit of the doubt - ever. No more BCS preferential treatment. Let Notre Dame be treated like all the other teams not playing in a tough conference. TCU, Boise State, Utah, Houston, BYU, Troy, Central Michigan, and yes, even Temple... all those teams have an objective, reasonable claim to a BCS bowl bid ahead of the Irish. Of course, only one of those teams can get a BCS bowl bid, while the Irish can play a cakewalk schedule, face no conference opponents (and the difficulty appurtenant thereto - you play the same team every year and they know your tendencies and have seen all of your film multiple times when scouting your other opponents), and can still waltz into the BCS with a good but not great record. ND can play after January 1 thanks to rules that apply to nobody else. While other teams would finish 3rd or 4th in their conference and go to a respectable bowl with a 9-3 or 10-2 schedule, the Irish get an 8 figure unshared payout.

Join a real conference, go undefeated against a real schedule, or just play by the same rules as the other minor football programs. Until the Irish do anything like that, no credit, no benefit of the doubt.