Notre Dame, as we all know, is very different in a multitude of ways. The fanbase itself (I think many can agree) is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) things that sets this program apart from any other. Other fanbases and media outlets try and throw shade at the fact that most fans of the Irish did not graduate from Notre Dame. I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say I wear it as a badge of honor. I think having so many fans, spanning so many locations, age groups, cultural backgrounds, etc. makes being a fan of Notre Dame truly unique and special.
With that being said, we are bound to have differing opinions. It’s not a bad thing. We are just talking about sports here. For example, I am almost 26, and my first memories of Notre Dame football is Ty Willingham. I need not explain how my view and the view of someone 10, 15, or 20+ years older than me may differ slightly. Between my Dad and my grandpa, I experience these differences regularly. So what better time than late January to discuss what some people may consider my “Hot Takes” regarding anything and everything Notre Dame football, coming from a lifelong fan since 1997.
Seminoles? Don’t hate ‘em.
We are going to start PIPING hot. There is a possibility that I lost 90% of you all with those four words already. It’s not that I don’t understand why Notre Dame and FSU fans hate each other. The thing is though, they only played 3 times between when I was born and my freshman year of high school. The first two times I barely remember were in ‘02 and ‘03 and then the Champs Sports Bowl in ‘11 — but my hate was directed at Tommy Rees that night and not FSU. So by the time we started playing them with our ACC deal, I had met and become very close with my best friend who is a big Seminoles fan. Yes, ‘14 made me mad but once again my anger was directed elsewhere. That night it was the officials with the offensive PI.
Since then Notre Dame is 3-0 against the FSU and the only one that was close was due to Notre Dame allowing a huge comeback they shouldn’t have. The things that drive hate for a team (Michigan - the fans, USC and The Patriots - early hatred from domination of my squad) just aren’t there with the Noles. We didn’t play them a lot when I was young, my best friend roots for them, so I don’t despise them by any means and they haven’t dominated Notre Dame at all. Again, I 100% understand where the bitterness on both sides comes from, just none can be found over here.
Conference? Don’t mind it.
Notice — I don’t mind it. It’s not that I am for it, or prefer it to being independent right now. I understand why Notre Dame values its independence and would not argue with someone who says they think it should stay that way. The way it works in my head is if Notre Dame announced it was joining the Big Ten, my first reaction would not be a disappointment. The first thing that jumps into my head is getting a better schedule. I much prefer playing USC, Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, etc. These are teams I have real venom towards and much prefer than anyone in the ACC — which is very meh. Financially it can’t be argued we would be worse off, and I think in the new era of College Football with the playoff, recruits, etc there are other advantages. Once again — this is not an argument for it, just how I’d approach it if it ever happened.
Navy? Change it.
For some this is the hottest of hot takes, for others, it couldn’t be colder. I am in lockstep with the others here at OFD in that there is no benefit to playing them every year. Everyone around me knows how grumpy I am during the Navy game every year. I hate watching it, it doesn’t help the team in any way and only hurts them. Alternate service academies (I’d much rather watch games against Air Force, and Army) and let each class play against Navy once in Week 0. I’m slightly more steadfast on this opinion than the others if you can’t tell.
I want Shamrocks on the helmet. I absolutely love it. If not all the time, much more often. I’m not talking about the ones in ‘11 against Army. Something like Under the Lights throwback in ‘11, or ‘13 ASU. If you don’t want the full Shamrock on the side I think pride stickers would be sweet as well. Just as a whole I wish Notre Dame utilized the Shamrock more. I think it’s absurd it’s called the Shamrock Series and it doesn’t always incorporate Shamrocks even at all recently.
Pat Narduzzi? Give him a break.
Absolutely kidding he can kick rocks.
Why am I wrong? Why I am right? What hot takes do you all have? Let’s keep it civil but I believe there are some interesting conversations to be had.