The Fallacies about Notre Dame Football

Tin Foil HatThere’s not much that compares to being a Notre Dame fan; the fan base is extremely passionate and enthusiastic.  But more passionate than them, unfortunately, are the people who hate Notre Dame.  So, I thought I would take a few minutes to point out some lies believed and spread by them.

False – Te’o was behind the fake girlfriend

I can’t even begin to tell you the number of people that still believe this.  It’s on a daily basis that someone makes some sort of comment about this to me.  So let’s break it down for them.  Those out there claim that Te’o did it for the publicity.  Interestingly, Te’o was going to a school that has their own TV contract, where he was the star player, and all eyes had been on him since the start of his Notre Dame career.  I was at the first game of his collegiate career when the crowd erupted after he tackled Colin Kaepernick for his first tackle.  Manti was loved by the Irish fanbase since signing day and known by the public long before his fake girlfriend came into play.

Others try to claim that Manti created the fake girlfriend to boost his Heisman chances.  Let’s think about the stupidity of this for a second.  In order for a middle linebacker, a true defensive player, to win the Heisman, he would have to have a lot of game changing plays, put up big numbers in tackles, INTs, sacks, TDs or a mixture of those, and his team would have to be in contention for the National Title.  So, you are telling me that when Manti was a sophomore, after his coach was just fired, he believed that Notre Dame would be in contention for the national title two years later during his senior season?  Seems pretty far-fetched to say the least.

Also, you are telling me that Manti would kill off his girlfriend on the same day that his grandmother passed away?  I can’t imagine too many human beings out there that would do such a thing, more less someone with the character that Manti has.  Also, Stanford players said that Te’o would ask them after their games if they knew his girlfriend.  Again, no human being would go to those lengths to try to create a fake girlfriend for any reason.

It’s not far-fetched to see how Manti was catfished, as he is a man with very strong religious values.  He was a Mormon going to a Catholic school, so there probably weren’t too many people there that shared his faith.  Manti’s faith is what his “relationship” with Lennay Kekua was built on.  His father would give them a verse each night to discuss with each other and they would have long conversations about them.  It’s amazing how faith/religion can impact people, and unfortunately for Manti that is what everything was built on.

For those saying Te’o is stil a liar because he didn’t come clean about it before Deadspin broke the story, ask yourself what you would have done.  No one can honestly say they would go to the Heisman ceremony and tell the world that they were tricked and that their girlfriend wasn’t real.  That would have been very embarrassing, not to mention taken away from the grand spectacle that the Heisman ceremony is.  Also, had he done that, people would have been saying he just brought that up at the Heisman ceremony for the publicity.  Any normal person out there would have just hoped that everything would just be swept under the rug and gone on with their life.

Lastly. I thought I would show you some recent comments people are still making about Te’o.

In reference to the Ohio State football players that were arrested this week:
“As long as Ohio State doesn’t have anyone as douche as Te’o; I’ll take the 4 arrests in a week.  I will believe he got tricked when pigs fly.  He was an attention-loving douche.”

In reference to Teo’s relationship being built on religion:
“Great leaders and devout Mormon’s don’t lie”

In reference to people asking why Manziel deserves a break but Manti didn’t get one:
“That’s because Manti lied about it and was the biggest baby possible about it.”

False – Notre Dame’s admissions aren’t different than any other schools

I could name countless kids that needed classes, to raise grades, or get better test scores in order to get into Notre Dame that went onto Big 10, SEC, and all other conferences.  However, I don’t think it’s right to point out student-athletes’ academic downfalls, so I won’t include names.  All I ask is that you follow Notre Dame recruiting closely for a year, get to know some people close to the program, and you will soon understand just how many kids that the football team would love to have but aren’t able to get in.  You would also find out about kids and their troubled high school pasts that ND stopped recruiting because of specific incidents.  A lot of times people will ask me why the Irish didn’t recruit this player or that player harder, but the recruiting process for the Fighting Irish just isn’t that simple.

People like to point out the Floyd and Rees arrests, and Golson being kicked out of school, as Notre Dame not being any different than the rest.  What they fail to forget is that these are college kids and college kids, no matter how good they are, tend to slip up from time to time.  According to arrestnation.com here are some numbers of arrests since 2010:

22 – Washington St.
16 – Florida, Oklahoma
13 – Arkansas, Georgia
11 – Kentucky
9 – Ohio State
7 – Alabama, Texas
6 – Michigan
4 – Notre Dame

Those are just a few teams I looked up.  I believe those numbers pretty much prove that Notre Dame recruits a different type of kid and looks for different things than others.  Which ties in nicely to the next fallacy:

False – Notre Dame won’t schedule/can’t beat anyone in the SEC

One of the funniest things to me about following college football is the way the bottom feeder SEC team fans try to act like they are great because other teams in the SEC have won titles.  Sorry Ole Miss fan, but that doesn’t mean you guys are any good.  Did Notre Dame get destroyed in the National Championship game?  Absolutely.  Alabama was the better team, ND had a freshman QB, and Kelly doesn’t have all “his guys” in there yet.  But just because Bama destroyed ND, that doesn’t mean a single other team in the SEC was better than the Irish.  And don’t play the game of “Georgia gave Bama a better game” or “A&M beat Bama so they are better.”  Football is about matchups – and give Nick Saban a month to prepare for Manziel and company and I am pretty sure there would have been a different outcome.

In 2005, I went to my first football game at Notre Dame Stadium.  The Irish defeated a Tennessee football team that was ranked on and off throughout the season.  As a matter of fact, in the past ten years Tennessee is the only SEC that has played the Irish, with ND winning both games.  I don’t know how that’s possible though since the SEC can’t be beat.  Looking at many SEC teams’ out-of-conference schedules, you could see why ND hasn’t played teams from this conference more often.   Which leads me to my next point.

False – Notre Dame plays a weak strength of schedule

Because of the history and tradition of the Fighting Irish, they have a number of long standing rivalries to hold onto.  Traditionally, they have played USC, Army, Michigan State, Purdue, and Michigan among others.  Unfortunately for the Irish, because of the rivalry with Army and their lack of success lately, people like to look at teams like them and Navy on Notre Dame’s schedule and say that they don’t play anyone.  According to Phil Steele, going into the 2013 season, Notre Dame has the number 13 ranked schedule in the nation.  ND’s final strength of schedule for 2012 was 8th according to NCAA and Colley Matrix ratings, while ranked 7th according to Kenneth Massey.  At quick glance, according to teamrankings.com, ND’s schedule was 29th in 2011, 29th in 2010, 16th in 2006, 3rd in 2005, and 8th in 2004.  But I guess people see what they want to see by glancing at a schedule quickly without analyzing it.  I am sure Notre Dame would love to play easy conference games like an Indiana or Northwestern.  Which ties right into…

False – Notre Dame needs to join a conference

What team wouldn’t want the power to decide who they play for all twelve of their games in a season?  Fortunately for Notre Dame, they have that power.  They are able to maintain the aforementioned rivalries while also starting new series with teams such as Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona State, and others.

To add onto building the schedule of their choosing, they benefit more financially by staying independent.  They are able to keep their television deal with NBC instead of having to give games up to Big Ten Network, Fox, or ESPN.  So no matter what, Notre Dame is going to play on national TV as long as they stay independent.  Also, from a financial aspect, they don’t have to split their bowl money with other teams from a conference.  Thus when they got paid for making it to the National Championship, they didn’t have to split it twelve ways.

Not being in a conference also helps with recruiting nationally.  Notre Dame can schedule games in Texas, California, and anywhere else they would like.  This helps in the recruiting process by telling a recruit and his family that they will get a chance to see their son play as he won’t be tied into a number of games in the Midwest.  This also helps to show recruits how they are a national brand.

False – Notre Dame hasn’t been good since the Holtz days

Has Notre Dame underachieved some seasons and choked in some bowl games?  Absolutely.  But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that the Irish have still had a number of strong teams since the great Lou Holtz left.  With Bob Davie coaching, ND had two 9-3 seasons (1998 and 2000).  In 2002, Tyrone Willingham’s Irish were 10-3.  Not to forget the back-to-back BCS trips by Charlie Weis’ team in 2005 and 2006.  Weis was a Bush Push away in 2005 from competing for the National Championship.  Unfortunately, none of the three coaches after Holtz left were true proven head coaches.  If they were even decent head coaches, they would be coaching another big team and leading them to big seasons.  That’s not the case, though.  Bob Davie is the current head coach at New Mexico where they went 4-9 last year; Tyrone Willingham is currently a volunteer assistant coach for the Stanford women’s golf team; and Charlie Weis coached a Kansas team that went 1-11 last year.  Despite those below average head coaches, Notre Dame still reeled off decent enough seasons to put them in BCS bowl games.  One could only imagine what a coach like Brian Kelly could have done with those talented teams.

Unfortunately, people like to put a target and take aim at Notre Dame for every thing possible.  Whether it be a player making a minor mistake or playing a longstanding rivalry with a military school, Notre Dame will constantly get criticized.  Irish fans just need to learn to laugh about it and take it all in stride like most at the school do.  Just remember, when you are on top, everyone is going to try to bring you down.  No matter what anyone says, the eleven National Titles and seven Heisman trophies speak for themselves and prove that Notre Dame is still, and will forever be, at the top!  Go Irish!

-Fritz

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