Friday, July 20, 2007

What's Good? Not Much At All... | by Dylan

Life's like a mayonnaise soda
And life's like space without room

And life's like bacon and ice cream

That's what life's like without you

Those Lou Reed lyrics were the first thing I thought of when I heard that Notre Dame and Washington State had agreed to play on Halloween, 2009. In San Antonio. Taken separately, the opponent and venue are inoffensive. Together? Well, mayonnaise soda. It just doesn't grok, which means it's par for the course as far as Kevin White's scheduling habits are concerned.

With this game and the overall change in scheduling philosophy, White has added another stick to the pile of kindling that will one day (hopefully sooner than later) roast him on a spit. The BCS Deal, the Big East Deal, and the move toward corporate tent whoredom have already got the tinder smoldering. He's not quite to Bob Davie territory yet, but he's giving it the old college try.

What can you say about this latest nonsensical, head-scratcher of a game? Taken in conjunction with this week's announcement that Notre Dame will play an as-yet-to-be-determined-but-probably- a-body-bag-chump-like-USF opponent at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando in 2011 and 2014, you have to wonder how we've gotten to this point. The answer is simple: Kevin White's priorities are not Notre Dame Football's priorities.

I remember when Bob Davie was hired, my dad referred to him not as the head coach, but the "Director of Football Operations." The idea being that he was divorced from and oblivious to the things that make Notre Dame special. That technocratic, bloodless handle has passed to White, whose gutless "stewardship" has birthed the embarrasing "7-4-1" philosophy, shifting our aspirational peer bullseye from Palo Alto to Lincoln.

The whole notion of a 7-4-1 schedule should make Notre Dame fans cringe. It's dishonest, dishonorable, and anti-competitive. It is a tacit endorsement of the tactics used by Nebraska et al, who believe that scheduling a National Championship is at least as important as winning one. Most disturbingly, it's a forfeiture of the very things that enabled (and ennobled) Notre Dame to ascend to its position as the leader in establishing college football as the cultural and economic powerhouse it is today. White's concept of "barnstorming", namely playing second and third tier teams in remote and geographically puzzling locales, is not the same idea that motivated Rockne and his successors. If we are to play Washington State, then let's play them. Sign a home-and-home deal and get it on. What better way to demonstrate the program's vitality than to walk into BCS conference stadia and kick our host's asses? But in San Antonio? Please. It's like White thinks Notre Dame is Cirque du Soleil, a shiny, once in a lifetime CFB spectacular that rolls into towns like San Antonio and Orlando, throwing up tents and putting on second-rate games. ONE NIGHT ONLY! HURRY! HURRY! Notre Dame takes shots all the time about its inflated ego, shots that usually come down to sour grapes, but this strikes me as insufferably arrogant on White's part.

Get ready Orlando! Notre Dame is coming to town! Against whom? We'll get back to you. On to the economic impact statement!

Jay had a great idea on how to voice collectively our displeasure over this surrender, this abdication of Notre Dame's historic role as a leader of the sport, this capitulation to a wayward "everybody does it" ethic. When the time comes to fill out your '09 Alumni, Sorin, and Monogram ticket applications, leave the Wazzou game blank. Call it your own personal economic impact statement.

San Antonio? The mind boggles...