Perhaps some of you thought that since the season is only 45 days away (or so) that I would concentrate on the task at hand for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as they prep for fall camp. After all, the Irish have to replace four starters along the offensive line, break in a new quarterback, and no longer have the services of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Maybe some of you thought I would wait until game week before I got on my soapbox to preach about the pure evil evilness of playing the Wisconsin Badgers somewhere NOT named Camp Randall Stadium. Or... maybe you thought I just moved on.
You were wrong.
So... Notre Dame is headed to Chicago to play an “away” game against the Wisconsin Badgers — a game that redefines the concept of the Shamrock Series. That’s happening instead of making a trip to a true college football destination stadium at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.
The whole thing is gross.
Just imagine if Notre Dame can do the same type of grossness over the coming years:
- The Ohio State Buckeyes in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
- The Alabama Crimson Tide in Dallas and Chicago.
- The Penn State Nittany Lions in Buffalo and New Jersey.
- The Florida Gators in Orlando — I don’t know — how about fucking Cleveland.
The whole concept of neutral site games cheat college football fans out of many of the things that make college football great. Notre Dame’s early history of neutral site games (or barnstorming) was based out of necessity — not out of some weird thought that these things should be done with a perfectly good house on their own land.
It’s a PR thing for the sake of being a PR thing.
Two of the biggest clapback arguments I see every time I rail against these things (which is about once every couple of months) are:
- I can’t make it to South Bend to see the Irish play — but I can go to San Antonio! The argument being that Notre Dame spreads its wealth across the country so their fans nationwide can get a taste. It’s an argument that almost works, except for the fact that Notre Dame plays a national schedule every year, as well as bowl games. It’s really not that difficult unless you’re living in Montana I suppose) to catch a game. By the way... that’s also on you for not living closer to God’s Promised Land of South Bend.
- It’s for recruiting! This statement is arguably the one with the most bullshit. It’s something someone can spin into being an obvious truth — until you start looking for examples of truth. Notre Dame has been playing these games for a long time. Which recruit was so won over by a neutral site game that they chose Notre Dame? Has it bolstered the recruiting machine enough for top 5 classes? It’s a bulletpoint for a recruiting pitch — nothing more.
So here’s the deal... I know I’m not changing many minds here, and I don’t quite care. I hate neutral site games and will forever use my insanely hoarse voice to trash them.