Regardless of your stance on the expectation levels, one thing is manifest: those who are vested with the power to make decisions at Notre Dame DO NOT care about championship football. For the administrators and trustees at Notre Dame, football serves solely a vehicle for generating revenue. Football weekends are not about the football, but rather about a place to bring your wife and kids. Notre Dame Stadium is the Magic Kingdom and the bookstore is Epcot Center.
Which brings us to Jack Swarbrick, a/k/a Kevin White, Esq. If Notre Dame's leaders truly cared about reclaiming our place among the nation's elite, they would have hired an experienced AD who possessed a keen understanding of Notre Dame's history and a clear vision for the future. Apparently, however, the only requirement to become AD at Notre Dame is to serve as an attorney at an mid-sized firm in an averaged sized city. If I had known this, I would have applied for the job myself.
My indignation, of course, stems from the recent announcement that Notre Dame will be playing Western Michigan in 2010, joining such luminaries as Tulsa and Utah. While I am angered enough that Notre Dame apparently has no standards and no intention of playing a mildly entertaining schedule (or one that features more than 3 road games), I am infuriated by Swarbrick's condescending explanation. Quoth our fearless leader regarding possible dissent:
"It reflects a not very sophisticated view of what's going on out there," Swarbrick said of any backlash. "Utah is going to be in a BCS bowl this year, in all likelihood. Utah had a number of years where it was in national championship contention and is having another very good year. Two years ago Tulsa had a great year and in a lot of ways is one of the more dangerous teams in country.
Is this clown serious? Does he really think that opposition to his deplorable scheduling model reflects an "unsophisticated view" of college football? Leaving aside the factual inaccuracies in his response, such as his assertion that Utah will be in a BCS bowl, it is unfathomable that he thinks he can pass this schedule (see below) off as a legitimate slate of opponents. For those Notre Dame fans who enjoy road trips, you can forget about ever being able to attend a fun opposing venue. You can also expect that Notre Dame will be attacked relentlessly by the media and punished by pollsters.
It is not hyperbole to say that Notre Dame football is dying a slow, painful death. Our proud heritage has been entrusted to people who have neither the inclination nor the ability to preserve it, which is sad. Notre Dame alumni need to take back their football program, one way or another. I don't have the answers, although I am certain that, for the third straight year, I will send in a blank football lottery application with an accompanying note that outlines my objections to the management of the football program. I'll also write a letter to Swarbrick and Fr. Jenkins.
One closing thought: I have been outspoken about Charlie Weis in the past and, while I still do not believe that he will ever lead Notre Dame to glory, I am now much more inclined to retain him if we finish, say, 8-4 this year. Why? Because insofar as Notre Dame screws up every important football decision that arises, there is zero chance that we will conduct an effective search for Weis's replacement.
Sept. 4: PURDUE
Sept. 11: MICHIGAN
Sept. 18: at Michigan State
Sept. 25: STANFORD
Oct. 2: at Boston College
Oct. 9: PITTSBURGH
Oct. 16: WESTERN MICHIGAN
Oct. 23: at Navy (at Meadowlands)
Oct. 30: TULSA
Nov. 6: (Bye)
Nov. 13: UTAH
Nov. 20: ARMY (at Yankee Stadium)
Nov. 27: at USC