by Dave Miller
December 05, 02009
Citing “unique circumstances” surrounding the Notre Dame program, athletic director Jack Swarbrick confirmed reports throughout the week that Notre Dame will not accept an invitation to a bowl game after finishing its disappointing season at 6-6.
The decision reportedly had not yet been finalized before a team meeting between players and coaches on Friday, but it was common knowledge that the administration was not interested in any type of postseason.
Why you ask? I asked the same thing myself before I quickly came up with the answer that fits in so many instances when it comes to the folks in South Bend.
Simply put, this decision—once again—wreaks of Notre Dame pomposity.
Before dropping the ambiguous “unique circumstances” line, Swarbrick wrote in the prepared statement: “Notre Dame institutionally always has been a strong advocate of the bowl system, and we sincerely appreciate the bowls and individuals representing them who reached out to us.”
Well if this is the case, why not give every senior on the team a chance to put on the pads for what would be, for many, the final time in their lives? Oh that’s right, these “little” bowls just don’t pay enough for the Irish.
Is Notre Dame also worried that players, specifically draft-bound QB Jimmy Clausen and WR Golden Tate, wouldn’t be focused enough on a “minor” bowl game? Please, these are kids who love the game of football. If anything, it’s yet another draft showcase for Clausen and Tate, and a chance for the entire team to end the rough year on a high note.
Is the administration, perhaps, worried about getting embarrassed by, say, Central Michigan in the GMAC Bowl?
That’s truly the only thing that comes to mind. The Notre Dame officials are letting the college football world know that they believe the school is too good for anything less than a BCS berth.
That delusion will only further bury the school on the national landscape.
Even with the dismissal of head coach Charlie Weis—a coach who the players loved—you don’t think the team would play hard for assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello? For Corwin Brown and Jon Tenuta?
It’s one thing if the game was being played tonight and the players’ and coaches’ minds were elsewhere. But with the team having three-to-four weeks of extra practice and reps, don’t you think that those players would be salivating at the chance to bang helmets and pads against a team with a different jersey color?
The Irish likely would have been destined for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit on December 26 or the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on January 6. Granted, Detroit is not Pasadena. And the GMAC Bowl isn’t the Orange Bowl. But for a school that is supposed to be The Example of how a program should be run, taking away an opportunity from a team—a family—to have a few more weeks of brotherhood together doesn’t seem right.
In my opinion, there’s nothing embarrassing about a lower-tier bowl. The only embarrassment is the school’s continued insistence that it is mightier than every other institution across the country. That bad attitude is the very unique circumstance which will continually plague the Irish as 68 other teams go bowling this holiday season.
Dave Miller is the Web Manager of the National Football Post. You can follow him on Twitter at Miller_Dave.