In a normal times, I would have absolutely no interest in tonight’s BCS National Championship Game. I would blissfully ignore the game and go see Zero Dark Thirty again (a great movie once you get past Scott Hatteberg as a part of Seal Team 6). Two douchey coaches, two uber-arrogant fanbases; a pox on both their houses I should be saying.
And yet, come 8:15 pm, I’ll be in front of my TV like most other sports fans, ready to enjoy another championship coming weeks after both team have fallen of the rhythm of the regular season.
I’ll also be rooting harder in a neutral game then I maybe ever have in my life.
See, while Nick Saban is evil genius, and he has turned Alabama into a school that seemingly stands for nothing but turning out NFL first round picks; the Crimson Tide are by far the lesser evil playing in tonight’s game. In fact, I would go on to say that Bama taking their 3rd National Championship in 4 years would put a smile on my face and more than make up for the three touchdown loss my Ravens are going to experience in Denver this coming Saturday.
I fucking hate Notre Dame.
Somewhere, buried in these archives, is a story I wrote concerning a game I saw at Notre Dame Stadium years ago, one tinged with nostalgia and a longing for good times gone by. Basically, I fell under the spell of what is known as” Notre Dame Exceptionalism.” Keith probably should have banned me for writing it.
This holds that the school is the bastion of all that is right and pure with college sports, people that only play there to uphold the Notre Dame tradition. That the priests who run the school only accept the best student-athletes, with the emphasis on the student, as opposed to the football factories like, say, Alabama. It is all a sham.
It is a place where rape has been covered up, and led to thesuicide of a young woman. It is a place where a coach sent a young man to deathon a windy afternoon, and somehow managed to escape any repercussion for it because he has been won more games than the previous three coaches. It is a place that is as dirty a place as Alabama, where the secret shady money from boosters that flows throughout all of college sports runs just as deep and just as hard as your Ohio States, your USC’s, your Floridas. Besides, if you hate the idea of Syracuse being an ACC team, Rutgers in the B1G, or Alaska-Anchorage in the New C-USA (aka Big East), you can blame Notre Dame for that as well. Their decision to blow up the CFA in order to make their own NBC TV deal in 1991 was the starting gun for the conference realignment shitstorm, that is making a mockery of the entire idea of college athletics. And don't get me started on secrets of the dudes who wear that leprechaun costume.
But, somehow this image never sticks at Notre Dame. It’s still a place where people want to imagine Ned Beatty weeping in gratitude the first time he steps off the bus at the main gate to the stadium, where people want to pretend that there is still an innocent side to college football. That it’s all about a sunny, cool October afternoon. That somehow they are above the seedy underside of the game, and the lowdown grubbers of the SEC, the B1G, the Pac-12 that are only in it for the money.
Notre Dame is no different than the worst of them. But, Notre Dame will look you in the face and try to convince you that it’s about something deeper. It really is not.