Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 10, 2022*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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6 SEPT. 10, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FAN FORUM BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: WINNING > MONEY In his August 2022 BGI edition ar- ticle, "Money Aside, Joining The Big Ten Makes Sense For Notre Dame," Tyler Horka opines that consolidation "would pay dividends to Notre Dame in other ways [than financial]. Remember when there was a rivalry with Michigan State?" He later concedes, "It's not that Notre Dame vs. Michigan State is must- watch TV for a college football fan." I have news: It's not must-watch TV for any elite high school football player south of Indianapolis either. There's a reason the Southeastern Conference dominates the championship heights of college football, and it isn't (only) NIL. M r. Ho rka i s r i g h t t h a t m o n ey shouldn't be the driving factor. Money isn't important. Winning is impor- tant. If Notre Dame football wins, the money will follow. A mediocre product will ensure lack of enthusiasm for Irish athletics among media ad buyers and Notre Dame fans alike. Consistent win- ning requires recruitment of the highest caliber players, and more often than not these days, elite footballers are found in the South, not Big Ten territory. Notre Dame's current and future scheduling, through the ACC and in- dependence, takes the team in person regularly to Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Texas. Big Ten membership would take them to … Iowa and New Jersey? If winning is important generally, it is imperative for an independent football program. That's what brings the Ben- jamins. Conversely, if a school is guar- anteed, say, $80 million a year through a league TV contract, win or lose, the exigency of winning is diminished, if not lost completely. Between 1967 and 1989, Penn State finished in the AP top 10 15 times (68 percent), includ- ing two national championships and two other No. 2 undefeated seasons. In 1990, PSU joined the Big Ten. In the 32 seasons since, they have finished in the top 10 only 10 times (32 percent), with one No. 2 undefeated season and no championships. But since 1990 the Big Ten bucks have kept flowing their way. Coincidence? I think not. Social- ism engenders lassitude. Two other formerly fearsome indepen- dents, Florida State and Miami, who tra- versed the ether of college football from the mid-1980s through the first part of the 21st Century, basically disappeared after joining the ACC — FSU in 1991 and Miami in 2004. Et tu, Notre Dame? George Crowling Via the internet Heading into the 2022 season, one of the national narratives regarding Notre Dame football was that this would be a rebuilding year for the Irish despite their No. 5 preseason ranking. Many members of our message board at begged to differ. Here is a sampling of their opinions: DillonHall: Narrative would be different if the home opener weren't against OSU. The expectations seem to be around 9.5+ wins, that's not exactly rebuilding. We have the OL/DL/TE/LB firepower to go very far. Kcndmis97: Definitely not. We are still a top-10 program, have a top-10 roster. We are not rebuilding, we are "building" towards a top-5ish roster. TG25: I think the answer is in the middle. Yes in a way, but they could still be a playoff team SDS123: Definitely not rebuilding but still just far enough away to break our hearts. Anubis42: Certainly not rebuilding. But two positions that literally were the only constant in the NE [New England Patriots] dynasty, HC and QB, are our two biggest question marks. That is scary. If you were building your football team based off of chess, those are our King and Queen. TonyRice88: I would argue pro-rebuild for ND, but maybe not in the traditional context. BK certainly felt he had taken the Irish program as far as he could, and it still wasn't enough to legitimately compete for a national title. So, he bolted for perceived greener pastures at LSU. Freeman was certainly hired, at least in part, with the presumption he will be an elite recruiter. There's not much debate that top to bottom for all 85 scholarships that the Irish roster is not as robust with elite talent at Bama, Georgia, OSU, Clemson, and a few others. So, the "rebuild" will be Freeman and staff building a roster of talent that can compete for national titles in the future. Certainly, Freeman is starting on 2nd or 3rd base in this "rebuild," but the Irish program is not where it needs to be today to win championships and Freeman was hired to get them there in relative short order. IrishDuff: Maybe not rebuilding. Perhaps remodeling? JoJoIndy: With the transfer portal everyone is rebuilding! But not ND! What an awful take … people are just grabbing for any headline or catch phrase. scipiospinks: It's not a rebuild after losing 2 players to the draft, one of which didn't play the last 6.5 games. It's a new QB and first-year head coach. JOIN THE CONVERSATION AT BLUEANDGOLD.COM! GET ONE YEAR FOR JUST $1 FROM THE WEBSITE .com .com Marcus Freeman may be in his first season as Notre Dame's head coach, but expectations are as high as ever in South Bend. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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