The winter holidays are the time we as a modern society have set aside to spend with family. Much like tax season and the Michigan September Heisman Ceremony™ it is, for many, something to be endured. A season of gritted teeth.
Try as many of us might to bury our emotions with an egg nog-powered hydraulic ram of teutonic stoicism and the binding magic of Cream of Mushroom Soup, things eventually come to a head. If it’s not a brother drinking all your good liquor, it’s your parents screaming relationship advice from the abyss of their own dysfunction, or your sister sulking that we can’t have vegan rib roast. Or maybe it’s finding an empty bag of dog food in the recycling bin despite having the very pointed conversation about what is and is not recyclable exactly one bag of dog food ago.
So in that spirit of saying what needs to be said, I offer the following as my holiday gift to you:
Notre Dame is garbage. Utter, inexcusable, worn-out, has-been, my-mom-says-I’m-special barge full of trash.
That’s the truth and the only people who can’t stomach it are Domers who can’t or won’t grasp that Notre Dame’s last signature bowl win—the 1994 Cotton Bowl—is closer to the moon landing than it is to present day.
Since 1994, Notre Dame has amassed this festering turd of a post-season resume in premiere bowls:
2001 Fiesta Bowl: #6 Oregon State 41, #11 Notre Dame 9
2006 Fiesta Bowl: #4 Ohio State 34 - #6 Notre Dame 20
2007 Sugar Bowl: #4 LSU 41 - #11 Notre Dame 14
2013 BCS NC: #1 Alabama 41 - #2 Notre Dame 14
2016 Fiesta Bowl: #7 Ohio State 44 - #8 Notre Dame 28
2018 Cotton Bowl #2 Clemson 30 - #3 Notre Dame 3
If you’re keeping count, Notre Dame. has been outscored 231-88 as a ranked team.
I triumphantly defy you to name another team that has amassed such a towering edifice of utter decrepitude at the national level that still receives even a shred of the deference that Notre Dame gets every year. This, of course, without even playing a conference schedule. Army was 10-2 after the regular season, but because they aren’t in a conference, the best bowl invite they could muster was the (scoff) Armed Forces Bowl.
We have a lot of problems as a country—and a great many of them stem from the fact that a massive glut of human beings still pines for the return of the mid-20th century. It’s fairly apparent in our national politics, but it’s downright blatant when it comes to Notre Dame. The Irish are a program of the past—a past that millions of cable-subscribing Baby Boomers are dying to recapture.
The Notre Dame of today is a sham. Their independent “tie-in” status is a sham. Their TV deal is a sham. It’s all a barely-disguised ruse designed to capture eyeballs and siphon wallets. Twice in six years the Irish have gone undefeated. In the ensuing bowl games, they’ve been outscored 71-17.
While we’re venting our spleen for the betterment of our people, let’s get one more thing straight: Brian Kelly is an embarrassment. He got a kid killed and built a reputation as a screaming, spittle-spewing ball of irate violence. He presided over a shameful player cheating scandal at a school that claims moral and academic superiority as both laurels and excuses. His program and its overlords also now stand accused of mishandling sexual assault charges against players—for a second time in his tenure. All he got as a reckoning was the National Coach of the Year award for cleaning up his own mess. As though ESPN wasn’t shameless enough already.
Notre Dame needs to be ejected from the national conversation until they join a conference like the rest of the big boys. Their continued presence at the top level of college football is completely and thoroughly unsupported by any objective measure. They make a mockery of all that is supposed to be meritocratic in this game of conferences and titles.
The Irish are a glittering, gilded symptom of our great national disease—the idea that America’s greatness lies in the era of Ike and Ara and JFK, of Ed Sullivan and Dacron and “Pow! Right to the moon!” Counting Notre Dame among the elites is simply another form of yearning for simpler times and wishing the clock would run the other direction. Perhaps this is the tragic toll of all that leaded gasoline. When the boomers pass on, like a suckling pig through a snake’s gullet, we may finally rid ourselves of this mental dysfunction.
Notre Dame belongs on the sideline—just like Rudy did. They certainly have no place in a premiere bowl, much less the playoff. Not in 2012. Not in 2018.
Join a conference and play like the rest of us, Domers. Until then, check out the Armed Forces Bowl. Army would love to take you to the woodshed.