As an Irish fan born and raised in Buckeye territory, I have to maintain a certain level of respect for Ohio State and its fans. I can’t completely knock the home team. However, I can and will call tOSU fans out on their lack of originality. As much as I love my friends who bleed scarlet and gray, phrases like “cupcake schedule” and “Join a conference,” are tired and lack creativity. Do better.
While haters going after Notre Dame’s defining independence is nothing new, the COVID-19 pandemic and recent moves toward the playoff expansion have put this status under the microscope in unprecedented ways.
At ACC Media Day, conference commissioner Jim Phillips had no shame about his Irish thirstiness. Phillips said, “I think we all got a glimpse of what would be like to have Notre Dame in the conference this past fall. That was a really beautiful and beneficial relationship to both Notre Dame and the ACC… They had a chance to play a fantastic schedule… They had a chance to vie for a national championship and compete in the CFP. We have a real-life example of what that could look like.”
Head coach Brian Kelly has expressed a level of comfort with a 12-team expansion and underscored his willingness to sacrifice a first-round bye to keep that Irish independence. Kelly has explained, “We get a week off after Stanford or USC anyway… There’s our bye week. And we get a home game. That’s more than we’ve ever gotten. I think the trade-off was acceptable. It’s a trade-off, no doubt. It’s real. But I think it was an acceptable trade-off to get what we wanted, and that is to maintain our independence as long as we wanted to control that.”
Despite the pandemic, playoff changes, and the strangest season in CFB history, it’s refreshing to see proof Irish independence and all that makes Notre Dame what it is won’t cave easily. I’ll say it again, I’m looking forward to not seeing those ugly ACC patches anymore.
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