The times they are a-changin'

Posted by BrianBoru at 10/23/2009 6:41 PM EDT

I haven't written much lately because there isn't very much left to say. I suppose I could continue to repeat my blogs, trotting out why Notre Dame Football is dead as we once knew it.

But I have become at once indifferent and curious regarding the precipitous decline of a once-proud tradition.

Just yesterday, Notre Dame announced that it had filled its final open date for the 2010 season with Mid-American Conference also-ran Western Michigan. Responding to a groundswell of criticism from Notre Dame Alumni and fans alike, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said that his constituents held an "unsophisticated view" of scheduling matters as they pertain to Notre Dame's vision.

And so it goes; a new athletic director, who is yet another empty suit, neutered by an administration desirous of marginalizing Notre Dame Football.

This is not news to most Notre Dame followers; we know that there have long been pockets of resentment and contempt toward the football program — that the enemy is not on the other side of the field but resides deeply entrenched within the walls of the University of Notre Dame.

No doubt, college football fans with a parochial interest would be surprised if they knew the unending game of tug-of-war between those of us who care about upholding the tradition of Notre Dame and those who wish to ultimately dismiss its football program altogether.

Recently, I had a conversation with my brother about the sad state of affairs in South Bend.

I told him that the Board of Trustees et al within the Notre Dame power structure would be compelled to preserve Notre Dame Football — if for no other reason — once they finally realize that a mediocre Notre Dame Football program is not as profitable as a winning Notre Dame Football program.

Seems pretty logical, right?

Surely, even those within the administration who scoff at Notre Dame Football and worry that the university's prestigious academic reputation would be undermined by a successful Notre Dame Football program would understand that they depend on the revenue that the football program generates.

Tangibly speaking, Charlie Weis has now cost the University of Notre Dame $24 million dollars.

Yep. That is the sum cost of missing out on $8 million per year from 2007-2009.

But, wait — there's more! The deep-pocketed boosters, who don't take too kindly to a perennially-average football program, will not be lining up to write checks to a university so blatantly thumbing its nose at the greatest tradition in college football.

Sooner or later, the people who have allowed Notre Dame Football to fall from its once-lofty perch must answer for their dereliction.

Incidentally, to those wondering why I've already written off this year for BCS earnings: No. This year's squad has virtually no chance of making a BCS Bowl. First, Notre Dame has not run off six consecutive wins under head coach Charlie Weis since the 2006 season; a season in which smoke and mirrors began to take shape during the Weis regime. You recall the Irish were throttled thrice, including the disembowelment at the hands of LSU in the Sugar Bowl.

Though much was made of Notre Dame making it to a BCS bowl game that season, I did not enjoy the Irish Sacrifice in The Coliseum, as the Trojans of Southern Cal toyed with and then punished Brady Quinn and his colleagues. Indeed it is rather sad that my fondest memory of that game was tailgating beforehand with my cousin Jackie and his Trojan friends. To their credit, the Trojan fans took pity upon us, offering us libations and food.

Anyhow, I digress…

As for the possibility that Notre Dame will arrive at a BCS bowl at season's end — with Pittsburgh as the only ranked team remaining on its schedule, the Fighting Irish will have very little opportunity to move up the rankings ladder enough to even qualify for the BCS Bowl.

Add in Charlie Weis' disinclination to win by a large margin — he foolishly believes that the people who vote do not care about style points, or whether the Irish narrowly defeat piteous teams they should dominate — and you get the idea: it's not going to happen.

Perhaps I should just smile and pretend Notre Dame has not changed for the worse.

Alas, I cannot.

Call me cranky; I don't care.

The sad reality is: there is not much to smile about when it comes to Notre Dame these days.

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