Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Notre Dame’s demise pleases writer

Irish’s humbling 33-3 loss to Georgia Tech in season opener only fitting for program with advantages

September 5, 2007

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Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

I have been celebrating the misfortune of your chosen people, the Fighting Irish. Georgia Tech beat them, 33-3, and I can think of only one thing to say.

"HA! HA! HA! HA!"

Journalists are supposed to be objective, but I have to come clean on this one. Notre Dame has always been the team I'd most like to see lose 92-0 to Northeast Appalachian State.

It's nothing against the school or its fans or Pope Benedict XVI. It's how the football team gets more pampering than Leona Helmsley's dog.

That was understandable when the Irish truly ruled the football world. But Notre Dame has become the football equivalent of a trust-fund brat.

The program inherited the wealth and tradition of Knute Rockne, the Gipper and Ara Parseghian. So it lives the high life, unbound by the rules of normal football society.

How can you not laugh when it runs Daddy's Mercedes into a ditch?

This is when Irish fans start accusing critics of being petty and jealous. You bet I am. I'd love for my favorite team to have its own TV contract, its own BCS deal and its own spell over an adoring media.

I first realized the usual rules don't apply in the 1977 season. The fifth-ranked Irish beat No. 1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Third-ranked Alabama beat Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, but Notre Dame leapfrogged the Crimson Tide to win the national title.

There's no way that would have happened if the roles had been reversed. I got used to the Irish hype. Every coach was the next Rockne, every player the next Joe Montana. Charlie Weis could sign the pudgy kids from Shaq's Big Challenge and it would be deemed a top-10 recruiting class.

I'll grant you that only Notre Dame has Notre Dame's box-office appeal. That's why NBC gives it $9 million a year and MSNBC touts its Notre Dame Central. But what have the Irish done with all those advantages?

Squat. The Gipper himself was president the last time they won a national championship in 1988. They've had one top-10 finish since 1993. Touchdown Jesus has no clothes, yet the fascination never goes out of style. Notre Dame gets an automatic BCS bid if it finishes in the top eight.

Coincidentally, it has lost eight straight bowls by the average score of 35-17. Why would a bowl want such a lemon? Because it's Notre Dame, stupid.

People are shocked at the Georgia Tech score, but it could have been twice as bad. Some fans are wondering if Weis really is a genius. Who said he was in the first place?

He pretty much did, and the world bought the hype. Just as it did for Gerry Faust, Ty Willingham, Ron Powlus, Rudy and the Leprechaun. Now freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen is being fitted for Montana's shoes.

The Irish could lose six or seven games. If they go 0-12, they might not even get a bowl bid. At least that means Notre Dame would finally get something it deserves.

Forgive me, Father, but how can we not laugh?

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