I didn’t watch it. I DVR’d it, but I had better things to do. Funny, how that happens sometimes, when you know, that you are being fed a bunch of bullshit without out even being offered a small glass of water to wash it down.
I’m talking about ESPN’s Bowl Mania special. Usually, my anticipation of the bowl season is hard for anyone around me to not notice- but this year it feels quite a bit different. It feels like the bitter end of something, rather than the celebration of all that we hold holy (college football).
There may not be one singular entity more responsible for the surge in popularity and coverage of college football in the past 20+ years than ESPN/ABC. Their commitment to the sport has proved to be an extraordinary tool that has fueled the game, its fans, and even the NFL. While the NBA uses player matchups to sell their games, the NFL uses the teams themselves. However, those NFL teams have rosters loaded with players that were already household names from their days in college, which makes the better sell of “team VS. team” a lot more palpable than “player VS. player” with an interesting matchup of teams.
But I digress…
Of the 35 bowl games being played this season, 33 of them will be on “The Family of Networks” of ESPN/ABC. Only the Cotton Bowl (Fox) and the Sun Bowl (CBS) are not a part of this monopoly of holiday clashes. That is an amazing number of games on one network. Perhaps this is one of the biggest reasons why we have so many bowl games. ESPN talking heads will bash the bowl system for being so inclusive, while their bosses in the executive suites cash the corporate checks that comes with the games.
So, are you (Irish fans) surprised by the nature in which ESPN has treated the Sun Bowl? What about you, LSU and Texas A&M fans? At least Notre Dame and Miami have nostalgia pushing them along, no one is talking about LSU and Texas A&M in what should be a very, very good Cotton Bowl.
It has been one of those years for Notre Dame that we aren’t quite used to. The Irish were slammed by the media in all of their losses and they were given a “meh” after all of their wins. Irish fans that have took the lack of “credit” as a slight, are many in number, but really it has shown just how far the program has slid in the past 15 years.
Notre Dame was picked to lose to Utah by a majority of the media, they were picked to lose to Army by a spiteful handful, and almost every media source in the country had them picked to lose to the Trojans. The Irish won all three of those games, and has got minimal props in doing so.
Once again, Notre Dame is being picked to lose to Miami in the Sun Bowl by a large portion of the media. And, once again, if the Irish win, expect very little “love” from the media. The coaching change in Miami is the perfect scapegoat for the talking heads, just as Matt Barkley not playing against the irish was the perfect scapegoat then.
However, their is a silver lining to the lack of recognition for Notre Dame: It won’t matter come spring, and then the fall. The standard print will be that Notre Dame won their final 3 regular season games, and their bowl game against a BCS conference team. That, along with a possible 18 of 22 returning starters, will put them in the top 15 in the preseason polls (lose the bowl game and still expect a ranking- but probably around 23 or 24).
If you are looking for a theme or an actual point to this post, then you will be disappointed, and obviously don’t read Subway Domer that often. But… if I was to put my finger on one thing and send you on your way, it would be to chill out and let the things that happen, happen. I strongly believe that Notre Dame is on the way up nationally, and we can finlly say that we have a “Head Coach.” The media is going to be biased against the Irish because of our relevancy in the face of irrelevancy. So what. If things go according to plan, the denial will not be an option.