Tag:Notre Dame
Posted on: August 22, 2010 2:23 am

No love ... still ... for Navy

I started talking about the Navy football program last year, when Vegas put them at 22-point underdogs against Ohio State. Against one of the best defenses in the nation, Navy moved the ball against the Buckeyes better than most of Ohio State's ranked opponents. They never held the lead, but they were far from being out of the game until the final minutes of the game - far, far from the 22-point underdog status.
I thought this showing would finally make the media and other college football fans of the nation start paying attention to a quality program - a program with multiple consecutive winning seasons, a program that has handled its opponents in the bowl season. Looking at the AP Top 25 released today, I see that this still hasn't happened.
It bothered me a little bit that Navy wasn't ranked in the Top 25. No, I didn't expect them to be at 10-19, but it's not a stretch to put them at 20-25. Having the fourth best rushing offense in the nation, a quarterback who is a reasonable Heisman candidate, a good stretch of winning seasons and an offensive scheme that his disciplined and confusing to defenses, a case could be made for them to linger at the bottom of this year's Top 25.
What bothered me more, however, is to see that Notre Dame received more votes than Navy. Based on what? If you've been paying attention the last couple of years, Notre Dame has been a victim of the Midshipmen. Notre Dame had a worse record than the Navy. Notre Dame did not go to a bowl game. Why, oh why in the world, would anyone give the Irish more credit than this quality Navy program?
I hate to think these pre-season rankings are about popularity, but they definitely aren't about numbers. And talking about SOS isn't an argument for Notre Dame receiving more votes. One, Navy beat Notre Dame, so the Irish's SOS should make a better case for Navy to be ranked higher. Second, the Irish doesn't have a killer SOS themselves and faltered against every quality opponent they have faced. Somebody please tell me, what does Navy have to do to get some love this year? They don't have a tough schedule ... this I'll admit. But either do many of the teams - not just listed in the Top 25 - but also listed in the Top 10. I'm a big fan of Boise State, but they can be ranked in the Top 5 and get respect for playing Virginia Tech, but the Navy can't be ranked in the Top 25 for playing opponents like Pitt. And, obviously, 31 voters think Notre Dame is a quality program, so why rank them above Navy? If Navy goes 11-1 or 12-0 this year, which is a very real possibility, it's time for people to stand up and take notice. Also, Dobbs shouldn't be snubbed for the Heisman because his Midshipmen haven't made it into the in-crowd/social club of the media. Start giving this team some respect. They've earned it.
Posted on: November 11, 2009 5:08 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2009 5:28 pm

Who's to blame for Notre Dame?

Notre Dame fans are up in arms. Their coach hasn't produced, the players are outperformed by quality teams. The Irish's only success has been against mediocre programs.
The Michigan loss was a shot in the heart, USC was just a heartbreaker, but this last week's loss to Navy has been labeled a disaster.
I just heard Jim Rome say: "Notre Dame should have never lost to Navy."
Here goes our first culprit in Notre Dame's rash of national negative feelings.
"Notre Dame should have never lost to Navy." Really? Why is that? Is the college football media so stuck in the past that they find it possible for the Midshipmen to have success against a just-decent Notre Dame team?
The last time Navy played the Irish in South Bend, the Midshipmen won. Of course, because of the history of the two teams, this was labeled a fluke. But, let's look at what the Navy has done in the past few years: Led college football in rushing yards, dominated games without completing one pass, advanced its triple-option offense to become on of the most original schemes in college football. This is a Navy team, who at the beginning of the year as 22-point underdogs to Ohio State, was just a few yards and one pass away from beating the Buckeyes. They've made bowl game appearances consecutively over the last few years. This is a team that has been on the up-and-up and has been the most dangerous under-the-radar team in FBS football.
Less was said about Notre Dame's loss to a rebuilding, struggling Michigan football team. Why? History dictates that Michigan should win this game ... it's not and has never been out of the question for Notre Dame to lose in Ann Arbor. Michigan, being the winningest football team in college history and having the same amount of national championships as Notre Dame, is having a worse season than the Irish ... yet, we hear a lot less about this. Although Michigan fans abound by the millions, the Irish's following even trumps the Wolverines.
So, it's not just the national media picking on a Notre Dame's performance - it's the national media's historical perception of the program. Instead of realistically evaluating the makeup of this team, they have used historical standards to hold them to unreasonable expectations. The fans are the same way, which is exactly the energy fed on by the national media.
Notre Dame is a decent team, but they are not championship caliber, and labeling them as a BCS bowl team with unrealistic expectations is what is putting so much heat on the players and the coach. It doesn't help gifting them into the national standings either. ND has lost to every decent team they have played, before losing to Navy, yet the wins over mediocre programs were enough for the pollsters to justify a Top 25 standing.
College football and its programs are everchanging. Florida, who has been considered one of the most dominant teams and a team we're told is one of the best historically, isn't even in the Top 10 in wins for college football. The Gators going undefeated used to be a joke. Until the national media releases its 'this is supposed to happen' mentality, due to its attachment with history or obsession with team popularity, teams like Notre Dame will be held to unreasonable standards, while teams like Navy will go unnecessarily unnoticed. Truth for the sake of truth means seeing teams for what they are, and not what we want them to be.
Who's to blame for Notre Dame's negative attention. Simply, it is our attachment to history.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com