Random Randomness Forces My Hand


So… after a week of having my PC out of commission, and cursing myself stupid for not getting an iPhone instead of this “other” smartphone- I am back bitches. What a week! Some of you were probably wondering what in the hell I was doing, and what thoughts I may have about some of this “news.” Well, like that punk ass Imperial Officer, you’re about to get force-choked into submission. (Yes, I know that was like, the 4th Star Wars reference in the past 10 or so posts- but isn’t it worth it?)

On to the Randomness…

Theo Riddick Moves To The Slot. So Brian Kelly was reading Subway Domer last week and he decided to make your Emperor eat a little crow. So what. A lot of you are probably snickering a bit at The Subway Domer too. Well, go ahead and snicker all you bastards want.

I still think it’s a bad idea… kind of.

The general concept of getting your best playmakers on the field is not new, and Kelly certainly sees a need to play the best. That’s fantastic. But is Riddick that much better in the slot, than say John Goodman, or Deion Walker or Roby Toma, or even Barry Gallup Jr.? I’m not too sure about that one- just yet. Just because the move from running back to receiver was successful for Tate, doesn’t mean that Riddick will be able to transition as successfully, and in fact, more quickly.

Basically, I am more worried about 2011 than 2010 with this move, but I suppose the move back to one’s original position would be exponentially easier than a move elsewhere. Besides, it’s not like Kelly won’t find ways for Riddick to carry the ball from his position in the slot. (This must be what he was pushing on Anthony Barr during his recruitment).

There is some good news with this move that moves beyond the obvious (Kelly playing the best players available). This says a lot about what Brian Kelly thinks about Cierre Wood and his abilities as a running back. Kelly alluded to Wood as being one of those playmakers that must see the field in an interview in January, and his name was mentioned alongside Riddicks for a possible move into the slot.

This should also put to rest (at least until the season is underway) any thoughts of moving Wood to Safety. I have suggested that move several times, but only as a a possible scenario to fill what I see as a glaring hole in our recruiting over the past two years and immediate need. Kelly came out recently and said that the Irish defense was very talented. Perhaps he was making an inside reference to the Irish underperforming on defense the past few years with all the star talent that has been recruited? So, I honestly see a lot of possible combinations of Harrison Smith, Zeke Motta, Danny McCarthy, and even Jamoris Slaughter.

All of this, because #32 is so greasy fast, he makes Mickey’s head explode while chasing chickens in a back alley in Philly.

rockneGod, Country, Notre Dame. This is the battle cry of most of the Notre Dame Alumni and a lot of its Subway Alumni as well. This is what is shouted at the top of their lungs when talk of (gulp) joining a conference is brought up by anyone. Jack Swarbrick certainly caused a lot of shit to hit the fan this past week when he spoke of the possible need for Notre Dame to join a conference in all sports, thus taking the ND Football team from Major Independent to member of possibly the Big Integer.

I discussed the topic of Notre Dame and conferences during a podcast with In The Bleachers last month. Basically, I stated that I, as a Subway Alum, defer to the Alumni and the Board of Trustees when choosing between Independent status or Conference affiliation. I said that what ever the school and the Alumni thinks is best- is probably best. It’s their school, and it is their right to determine their own destiny and paths of fortune (or misfortune).

As for my own personal point of view, I am a little more open-minded. I would say I am 60/40 in favor of joining a conference, in particular the Big Integer. (Joining the Big East outright would be an abomination that should not even be discussed). I have heard or read every major and minor point from Alums and Subway Alums as to why Notre Dame should NOT join- but for every point there is a counterpoint of equally significant measure except for the argument of conference voting when it comes to 10 (or 12) public institutions versus 2 private schools. That point alone is a big enough red flag to not join.

However, in a blogosphere with almost uniform opinions from Notre Dame sites that ND should not join, I will stand up and play the role of Satan (“adversary”, for those who don’t know the real meaning behind the word) and offer a few points to the contrary.

  • Being Progressive. This is a theme that I will touch on with grand detail in an upcoming post on Subway Domer about Notre Dame and Tradition. When the word “progressive” is talked about with Notre Dame, the legacy of Knute Rockne is what will frequently be discussed. Rockne was a man of great ambition and had a shrewd way of doing business. The Football program embraced that tradition for many, many years. Then, the 90’s came and with it a virtual takeover of the sport from the likes of ESPN, conferences, and major corporate doners. Notre Dame did not fall to the pressure of all of that crazy stuff and remained the only major Independent in college football. It has fought the good fight, but like most small rebel uprisings, those who run and control Notre Dame on a daily basis are starting to feel the pressure from the outside world to cease and disarm. Joining a conference would feel like losing a war to most Alumni, and one that they have fought for so very long. That should not, however, be a reason to not fall in line with the times- and they are changing. Jack Swarbrick is a very smart man, and I think he sees the value in joining as a way for Notre Dame to move forward as opposed to standing still. Where would Notre Dame be if they did not play the role of innovator in the 20’s and 30’s? The ambition to stand alone was based out of necessity and proved fruitful. Could the ambition to join the rest of the College Football world be equally necessary? So in other words; being progressive doesn’t always mean being all alone- it can also mean a change in philosophy to move with the times and forward with others after a century of standing alone. Where are ya Rock?!!
  • Money, Money, Money. The easy argument against ND joining a conference in the past has been an easy one. Money. Notre Dame had it’s own lucrative TV contract that was unheard of 20 years ago. It has it’s own Bowl deal that is equally distinct, but grander in the scope of dollar signs. That is no longer the case. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but I know the ballparks in which they play. Notre Dame makes about $10 million from NBC. Notre Dame makes $1 million a year from the BCS if it does not go to a BCS game, and around $5 million if they go to a BCS game. So if Notre Dame doesn’t go to any Bowl game, they make around $11 million with TV and Bowl Money. If ND goes to a non-BCS game with a payout of say $750 thousand, then they would make almost $12 million. If ND goes to a BS game, then they would stand to make around $15 million between the TV and Bowl deals. Purdue, on the other hand, will make $22 million from the Big 10 Network ( other money from ESPN/ABC is there, but amounts are unknown to me) and about $2 million from the conference bowl money allotment. That’s $24 million to Purdue on a bad year and $15 million to ND on a good year. The bottomline is the bottomline.
  • Scheduling a Nightmare. Notre Dame’s schedule is getting out of control. The 7-4-1 format is not moving in the direction that most fans had hoped and because the schedule is so front-loaded, the rest of the country loses interest with the Irish at the end of October (of course, winning would help). Jack Swarbrick has the toughest AD job in America when it comes to scheduling his football teams seasons. There is a base group of teams that ND will play every year, but over the past decade Notre dame has continually found it harder and harder to come up with a decent schedule perception wise. In a conference with at least 12 teams, Notre Dame would play 8 conference games in a season and be allotted for 4 out-of-conference games. U$C and Navy would be probably guaranteed to fill 2 slots, while leaving Swarbrick with only 2 games to schedule each year. Considerably easier and as long as they stay away from 1-AA teams- it could look better to the pollsters- which is what this thing really boils down to anyways. Notre Dame could fix its current scheduling problem if it wanted to- I guess. But, why don’t they just do it then? If ND remains Independent, are they destined to play schools like Army, Tulsa, and Western Michigan every year?
  • National Championships Or Bust. The goal at Notre Dame should be to win a National Title every year. End of story. But, it has had the tools to schedule itself a run for one every year in the past 20 years and has failed to do so- quite miserably in the past 15 years. There are some that believe that Notre Dame should have to be undefeated to deserve to win a National Title. That is, ridiculous. However, Notre Dame, right now, would have to be undefeated to get into a National Title game. I believe that the pollsters look at their schedule and without starting off in the top 5 annually- they would be doomed to “just” another BCS game if they went 11-1 this year. A conference with a title game at the end of the year helps buffer that situation. Say ND would start the season ranked #20, fought all the way to #2 by mid-October but lost a game to someone and still ended up in the conference title game with an 11-1 record and then won… pencil them in for the National Title Game. That 13th game acts like a mulligan as well as some extra dollars. If the goal is National Title’s, then why not move in a direction that best helps you achieve that goal?

Like I said before, I am sitting on the fence. I would rather have Notre Dame remain Independent, but I am leaning towards joining a conference as a way to help improve the football program- and college football in general. This isn’t the most popular opinion amongst Domers, but I am not the most popular blog either. This is ultimately a decision that the administration and the alumni will have to make, and I will respect that choice. This is their school, their legacy, and their future. I’m just along for the ride.

About The Subway Domer

Warlord and Emperor of the Subway Alumni... also, I do this "dad" thing pretty damn well.