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Notre Dame Football: The USC problem, yearning for Sparty, and brand tampering

Part 1 of a series of complaints. There’s no malice here, so... put down the rotted fruit.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason gives you a lot of time to think about a lot of things — especially when you should be thinking about a lot of other things in your life. Priorities be damned... my brain free-time over the past few days has been spent on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and college football. In particular, a list of some of the things I don’t like. My own “get off my lawn” stream of consciousness if you will.

This series will be in several parts over the next few weeks, and although these are technically “complaints” I do hope people don’t take it too negatively. A little constructive criticism never hurt anyone, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me either (that’s actually okay despite this being the internet). Hell, some of it isn’t even Notre Dame’s fault.

This list is completely random and without ranking. You can’t be overrated if there is no ranking.


Notre Dame and the USC Trojans hate one another so much that they refuse to be really good at the same time anymore. It’s gotten to be really annoying now that the Irish have crawled out from the blackhole left by Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis. USC keeps falling flat on its face, and it’s making the Irish look bad.

Of course, the Trojans probably felt similar in the 2000’s as the Pete Carroll era steamrolled Notre Dame.

USC is Notre Dame’s chief rival, and if you TRULY want to have fun during the college football season, your biggest rival should be better than a doormat. The game needs to have consequences, and should almost always be THE date circled on the calendar.


NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Michigan State Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

This “break” in the series against the Michigan State Spartans is a nonsensical crap sandwich. This isn’t the Purdue Boilermakers. Sparty has provided some of the better moments in Notre Dame football over the past 20 years, and it is one of those “hate” games that make college football the emotional juggernaut that it is rather than a series of JAG transactions (Just Another Game).

Just off the top of my head from recent history:

  • Monsoon
  • Little Giants
  • Home team loss
  • The Golden Teabag Dive
  • Tommy PI
  • Flag-planting
  • 13-1 LOL

And plenty more before and woven in and out over the last 60+ years. It’s too good to just quit and maybe play a few times every 15 years. Nope.


I realize that this is 2019 and just about everything in our lives is part of some marketing plan, broad message, or some damn hashtag. It’s just the way the world has evolved during the media age. Notre Dame has grabbed this concept by the hand and have skipped merrily along over the past 25 years.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s too much. I don’t do over the top corny very well when just about everything is magically transformed into over the top corny. Corny, is most definitely the brand Notre Dame has cultivated over the years, and business has been good — but is it really worth it?

When everything comes down to the almighty dollar in amateur sports, it blinds so much of the actual really cool shit. I suppose a lot of what Notre Dame does “for the brand” will be listed in this series, so I’ll just end this thing with a thought...

Notre Dame paid Scott Malpass, the VP and chief investment officer, over $10 million in 2017. He basically manages the endowment which grew from $11.8 billion to $13.1 billion from 2017 to 2018. Money should never be the issue.

College AD’s and presidents speaking about the “brand” while looking at games in like China... should probably just stop and rethink their life. Winning will always be better than a roadshow to Beijing during an 8-5 year.