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Notre Dame Football: Where’s the Rival Hate?

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Rivalries should involve hatred and pettiness.

It’s the end of Notre Dame Fighting Irish rivalry week here on OFD, and I have some real beef with the operation being run around this joint. Boomer brought some heat in ranking mascots and Josh was doing his impression of Hans three older brothers from Frozen by pretending Navy didn’t exist...but that’s not enough. Rivalries are meant to be PETTY AF and frankly, that’s why most of our rivalries fall flat. Where’s the hate? Where’s the vitriol? Where is the unabashed pettiness that feeds this sport we all love? Well good news lads and ladies, I’m here to rectify that because I have nothing but mean things to say about all of them.

Them other boys don’t know how to act.

Navy Midshipmen

Rivalries are born of hatred, as soon as you come to respect your rival, that’s it. Rivalry over. That’s why Navy is not a rivalry. I’m not saying this because they are a second rate football program, with just a 5 year run of historically relevant football, that plays in a lower tier conference, with almost no path to the College Football Playoff and deeming them a rival lowers Notre Dame by association... No. It’s because it’s marketed by respect.

Look just because Notre Dame and Navy have played 93 times, doesn’t mean that makes them rivals. Are Alabama and Vanderbilt rivals because they’ve played 84 times? .

Boston College Eagles

Boston College hasn’t won a football game against Notre Dame since four days after Barack Obama beat John McCain to win his first term as president. Boston College has lost 7 straight football games to the Irish and scored just 10 total touchdowns in those games. This isn’t a rivalry anymore. Does the butcher see the cattle as his rival? Nay. Sorry BC, you’re evicted.

Purdue Boilermakers

How do I put this gently? The thing is Purdue...well...you’re BORING. I know, I know, the 1968 #1 v #2 game happened. But you gotta move on fellas! Hell, Purdue has just won just 11 times in the 45 tilts since that infamous game. Have they beaten Ohio State four times as many times as Michigan has since 2004? Sure. Spoilermakers aside, this is a team that has lost on average to Notre Dame by more than 10 points since ol’ Chucky Dubs rolled into South Bend and they haven’t finished a season ranked since 2003. That’s not the makings of a rivalry I want a part of.

Michigan State Spartans

You know what I like about Michigan State? We both hate Michigan. That’s fun right? You know what I hate about Michigan State? Damn near everything else. No one liked Mark Dantonio. No one. He was a joyless, empty husk of a man, who smiled just three times in life. Sadly for us, one of those smiles came after a blatant failure of officiating during the “Little Giants” fake field goal that allowed the Spartans to steal a win in 2010 despite the play clock clearly expiring. Usually you can find maybe a SINGLE redeeming player on an opponents team over the years right? With Michigan State, I can’t think of a single miserable soul that’s ever been denied entry to Michigan or Ohio State and ended up in East Lansing, that I found the least bit likable. It’s like their players get crafted by an amalgamation of every 80’s movie villain trope.

Chong Li was their starting drop end in 2006

Having said all that, this makes Michigan State a fantastic candidate for a rival! There’s only one problem... By declaring Michigan State as a rival, you bring yourself down a level. It’s the reason Michigan refused to acknowledge them for years. Nationally, deserving or not, Michigan State doesn’t get respect unless they beat you. The Spartans need hosts that they can feast upon, like in John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” And we all know the solution that problem...

Burn baby, burn.

Stanford Cardinal

Stanford has almost all the necessary pieces to be a rival. I’d rather not bore you by rehashing what works instead focus on what doesn’t. How can Stanford be a rival when they have no real fans? Who do you shit talk to? Who do you dread having to hear from? It’s like playing the computer in a fighting game, what pleasure do you get from beating the computer in Street Fighter 2? If you’re not making the person sitting next to you to throw their controller in rage as you E. Honda punch them into submission, what’s the point?

I mean, you get a LITTLE pleasure...

It’s a real shame too because the two schools had some great moments over the last ten years and they had JUST gotten to be the 10th highest in crowd attendance in the PAC-12 over the last 5 years. However, based on the last few seasons, the roster losses and failures in recruiting, it looks as though Stanford is slipping back into the mediocrity that had for so long defined their existence.

USC Trojans

I was born in 1984, I was just 4 years when Notre Dame and USC last played a game with both teams have national title aspirations. Since then, it’s been a streaky rivalry in which decades at a time one team dominates over the other. Notre Dame went 6-3-1 in the 90’s, USC went 8-2 in the 00’s and Notre Dame went 7-3 in the 10’s. But there is one thing we can all agree on. FUSC. Seriously. Eff em.

Michigan Wolverines

Real rivals play for trophies. No trophy. No rivalry. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. Which reminds me... Brian Kelly might only play for one trophy this year and that’s the greatest travesty of all.