I can't stop thinking about how much I sports hate Notre Dame.
These feelings were dormant for so long. It was as if I thought I'd matured or grown out of it. Nope. ND was just playing uncompetitive football. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was always fun to see them experience their first loss, but beyond that? Meh. I'm not going to pile on. But then this season happened, and I started to get angsty. So much success, such a boring offense. Then break after break after break: Purdue being Purdue, Michigan refusing to coach, the end zone call in the Stanford game, the Pitt kicker individually pooping on all of his teammates, and, most recently, facing a USC QB who was greener than green.
Things crested this week when Drew Magary wrote his "Hater's Guide To Notre Dame" piece over at Deadspin. It was as if he spoke for me.
Some choice cuts:
The idea that Notre Dame serves as an EKG monitor for the overall health of college football is a lie, of course. Notre Dame has sucked for decades, while college football has been growing and thriving (and will finally realize its full potential in 2014 when a national playoff begins) over the same span. Whether or not the Irish stumble their way through a handful of wins against shitty service academies to find themselves in the national title game has nothing to do with it.
Because the truth is that Notre Dame is the college football team for people who don't like college football. They're a novelty, a program designed to capture the attention of casual casual casual casual college football fans—New York-media types who believe that something is relevant only when they've deigned to pay attention to it. These are the people who say they're rooting for Notre Dame because "they're a great story," which is what you say when you're a front-running douchebag.
...I hate Notre Dame for the exact same reasons I hate Tim Tebow. It's an underperforming football entity with an irritating tribal gloss of holiness, which gets far too much acclaim and adulation when it happens to succeed...
Rudy: Goddamn that movie for making me root for Notre Dame for three seconds. And the worst part is that Joe Montana said they carried Rudy off the field as a practical joke.
Theismann, Joe: He was Joe THEEZ-man when he arrived at South Bend. He changed the pronunciation of his own name because the sports publicity department told him to, so it would rhyme with "Heisman," which he never won.
Haha, Theismann was the best. Man, it feels good to get that out of my system. Let's put last week behind us -- shudder. -- and close out this college football season right: with potshots at Iowa and some other random thoughts.
Selective Hits On The BCS Top 25
1) Notre Dame: Hold on, I'm gonna pretend like I'm coaching USC.
/calls for shitty run up the middle on first down
/waits 30 seconds
/calls unforgivable time out
/calls for shitty run up the middle on second down
/calls backbreaking, game-ending timeout, where even if a touchdown was scored, so much clock was drained, that the game and life itself are now irrelevant
/runs up the middle
2) Alabama: Real sign at the 'Bama-Auburn game said "A.J. Football For Heisman".
I also asked Clemson Tom about one of the South's favorite haircuts, 'Bama Bangs.
Justin Bieber. Lesbians. Southern frat guys. What do all these have in common? No, not Sorority Row memorized but simply, the same haircut.
Fraternity guys have a ton of nicknames: Frat Stars, Frat-tastic, Frat Brat, etc. Frat-Tastic is a nickname I started, let me explain. Frat-Tastic is when a guy in his 20's wears a polo shirt, shorts, Sperrys, sunglasses around his neck, and the Bama Bangs.
Frat-Tastic is basically extremely preppy. Don't think I'm bias here, yours truly was in a fraternity, president at that. So I feel qualified for this. Not all fraternity guys have the "Bama Bangs" but in the south it's a way of passage.
I never had "Bama Bangs" while in college, I was too busy hitting on the guy's girlfriend who did (true story). I'm not sure who thought this was a good look, if Justin Bieber does it, it should be an immediate eviction of one's man card.
Honestly, I attempted to rock the "Bama Bangs" My excuse? She was a hot Georgia girl, so don't be mad at me, I was on an agenda!
The bangs though...are they a fad? Are they a protest against the barbers of America? Or is it simply hazing? I'm not sure but this I will say...Nick Saban was born on Halloween, never smiles, and I've yet to see him tell the truth. Is he evil?
Bama Bangs. Even Auburn thinks they suck.
'Bama Bangs, man.
3) Georgia: I want to give you respect for beating Florida at Florida, but you literally ducked every other SEC opponent of significance. LSU, A&M, and Alabama. Man. If you win the SEC title, nothin' but dap, but the second you go down 7-3 (and you will), I'll hate you forever.
4) Florida: Really great win over FSU. I don't know why this team continues to surprise me so much. I don't ever remember two Top 5 staples (Georgia/Florida) playing so well but feeling so underrated and simultaneously under the radar.
5) Oregon: I assume you beat Oregon State? I don't know, who cares.
6) Kansas State
8) Stanford: Bleh.
9) Texas A&M: Remember, even though he saved college football for one week, Johnny Football probably still sucks. Exhibit A.
Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) November 23, 2012
10) South Carolina
12) Nebraska: Good win over Iowa, you do nothings. Regardless, I've liked you all year and hope you severely light up Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.
13) Florida State
14) Clemson: Really bummed they lost to South Carolina. Blame Clemson Tom for getting me overly invested in the 2012 Clemson Tigers. I believed in Boyd, man.
15) Oregon State
17) Kent State
18) Texas: From the "Kiss My Ass, Mack Brown" department is Jesse Palmer apologizing for doing the upside down hook 'em horns sign. Man, I hope that was done as a joke. I like Palmer a lot; they clearly forced his hand.
19) Michigan: I didn't think I'd care about The Game. Michigan had nothing (really) to play for. Ohio State was undefeated but oh-so sanctioned. But then pre-game happened. Seeing Denard happened. Tearing up happened. I'll probably have to forever erase every play from the game past this phenomenal run. My god, Denard.
- Michigan QB Devin Gardner is rumored to be getting a medical redshirt from his freshman year where he only threw 10 passes before a 'back injury'. If so, he'll get another full year of eligibility/presumably starting. That'd be nice. For context, Michigan hasn't started a healthy senior QB against Ohio State since 2002/2003. It's been a full decade.
- Yeah, Ohio State went undefeated, but they proved themselves to be idiots as they had it wasted (unfairly, but still wasted) and cheered Jim Tressel -- the man solely responsible for screwing them over. Truly unreal.
- Project 17 lives! It's funny, most people look at Michigan as mediocre at worst or above average at best, but their losses are pretty impressive: they lost to Alabama (the best team in the country), Notre Dame (the only undefeated team in the country), Ohio State (the only 'other' undefeated team in the country), and Nebraska (Big Ten title favorite). If tOSU wasn't sanctioned, Michigan's entire group of losses would be to teams ranked No. 1, 2, and 3 and then the likely Rose Bowl participant. This is a long-winded way of explaining why M didn't drop in the rankings despite a road loss to undefeated Ohio State. It is still on the table for them to finish No. 17. If anything, they might have a shot to finish even higher. How crazy is that?
- After being torn on Urban Meyer (loved the coaching/might not like him as a person), I'm now fully out on him. He's just such a joyless complainer. And yes, you can call me out on that criticism, as I am Bill Belichick's biggest booster, but I think the difference is BB is joyless but still cool while Meyer is joyless and expects sympathy from the world and all of the referees who live in it. His halftime interviews are like poorly written diary entries.
That spread though, man.
- This video, which is probably Top 3 for Things To Come Out Of This College Football Season list. No lie. I beg you to watch the entire thing; it's only 1:31.
20) Boise State
21) Northern Illinois: Now that was a nice surprise. One of my Top 10 favorite college football programs enters the Top 25. And it makes Iowa look way less crappy for almost losing to them.
22) Northwestern: Ugh.
23) Oklahoma State
24) Utah State
25) San Jose State
Unranked But Still Interesting
Iowa: These things I know.
1) My alma mater just submitted one of the most offensively disgraceful seasons we've seen in college football to date.
2) I will be boycotting Iowa football if OC Greg Davis is retained.
3) Kirk Ferentz will not be fired, so talking about it is unnecessary.
4) Here are some Doc Sat lines about Iowa-Nebraska last week.
Nebraska clinches spot in Big Ten title game thanks in part to Iowa’s conservative approach
The game was played in heavy winds that kept both quarterbacks at less than 100 yards passing for the day. Although the game was ugly, Nebraska finished it with a dominating fourth quarter on defense. Iowa helped by being safer than someone in Vegas who stays on 8 while playing blackjack.
Iowa had the wind at its back in the fourth quarter, but called the game like it was going into the wind. Iowa gained just one first down in the fourth quarter.
How conservative was Iowa? The Hawkeyes once punted from Nebraska's 30-yard line. Yes, it was fourth and 13 and there was a strong wind, but that decision was one of the many flabbergasting ones by a team that came in with a 4-7 record. Iowa punted into the end zone, giving it a whopping 10-yard net gain. Have we mentioned Kirk Ferentz has one of the most coach-friendly contracts in sports?
The Iowa crowd sounded really annoyed when Iowa got the ball back with less than four minutes left and acted like it was sitting on a lead. A run and short pass gained 12 yards and took about 1:20 as fans continued to scream to hurry up. Then the Hawkeyes threw an interception on a short pass that sealed the loss. Keep in mind, Iowa had four wins. But hey, at least Ferentz kept the losing margin under 10.
Every game of this season -- even the wins -- was terrible, save Minnesota. I went to the Michigan State game (Iowa's last win, which was [seriously] back in early October), and it was epic and cathartic and crazy survival, but it was also terrible.
I'm just so glad they weren't nationally relevant. Some weeks, I just thought "well, they suck, so I can just ignore this in The Hybrid", but there was no way I was going to let that 13-7 home loss to Nebraska get off that easily. And if you were going to say "well, it's the off-season, so you don't have to think about them anymore", I'd say *wrong* -- a freshman RB got a drunk driving arrest just this past weekend. That's two crimes.
Miami (FL): Speaking of reasons to seriously consider boycotting the NCAA, have you heard about this? The NCAA is like a cartoonish Batman villain at this point -- except not really. Batman villains are obvious. The NCAA gets away with this sanctimonious 'amateur athletes' crap, while they rake in money and make these incredibly egregious power moves like "Miami players, if you don't talk to us, we'll assume you're guilty."
Such a crock.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes going undefeated but missing out on the Big Ten title game (and national championship) ended somehow worse than I thought. Exhibit O.
Iowa (again): I was done talking about Iowa, but in the middle of me writing this, they announced they are bringing OC Greg Davis back next year. So that settles it: for the first time in my life, I will be boycotting a team I actually root for. Even worse, it's the school I graduated from. This is depressing. My buddy Iowa Ryan sent me this to try to fire me up for the 2013 season (it's a graphic from Davis' time at Texas).
It, uh, didn't help fire me up.
Any Sweet Games This Weekend?
Louisville at Rutgers: A Big Ten-ACC clash!
Friday Night Lights
Northern Illinois (21) vs. Kent State (17): Give all glory to the MAC.
UCLA (16) at Stanford (8): Screw you, Stanford.
Alabama (2) vs. Georgia (3): Saban complained this week about how it's unfair for the SEC title game loser to miss out on the Sugar Bowl. He actually phrased it pretty well and didn't come off that bad, but since I ripped former MSU QB Kirk Cousins for complaining about the same damn thing last year, I have to at least address Saban.
So, to refresh, if the winner is going to go to the national title, this is how it works in the SEC for the best three teams after the title game is played.
1) Champ goes to national title game
2) Champ loser goes to a non-BCS bowl (third best bowl of this group)
3) Third best team, which doesn't play in SEC title game, goes to Sugar Bowl (second best bowl)
On paper, not super fair, but why should one-loss Florida get screwed over just because Georgia lost twice? Getting mad at that is nothing but mini-Tebow Kirk Cousins logic. Last year, after MSU got SPARTY NO'd in the Big Ten title game, Sconnie went to the Rose Bowl while Michigan (the Big Ten's third best team) also went BCS. It was great, and no one cared, but then Cousins was like "Michigan just sat on their couch and did nothing while we went out and played! Wah wah!" Dude, like, you have a point, but to get to the best game, you basically have to risk losing the chance to play in the second best game. And if you lose and end up in the third best game, it's not the end of the world. Florida head coach Will Muschamp basically said as much in response to Sabes:
"Well, I can switch and go to Atlanta if he doesn't want to go to Atlanta and play the Dawgs," Muschamp said. "Be careful what you ask for, Nick."
Nebraska (12) vs. Wisconsin: Big Ten Title game. Wisconsin's final chance to troll the world. Kills me to not be driving to Indy to see Michigan on Saturday. Their time will come.
Random Picture I Came Across While Googling Stuff For This Post
Wrapping It Up...
So this is the end. I probably won't be back next week, but if the bowls seem easy to preview and something crazy happens in the SEC title game, maybe. Worst case, I will for *sure* be back in January to preview the national title game. Hate levels will be renewed. In the meantime, have a great holiday and try to also enjoy some real football (the NFL).
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to SBN Chicago. he can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy.