NOTRE DAME. College football is far more interesting when Notre Dame is a quality team because Notre Dame is, by its nature, always overrated. They are considered overly bad when they lose and they are considered overly good when they win. When they are average, then there is just no interest at all. They have been average for Brian Kelly's first few years. They aren't average this year.
But how good is Notre Dame? We have already established that the polls are not a reliable indicator of how good a team is but more an indicator of which team most recently didn't lose, regardless of to whom it most recently didn't lose. Notre Dame didn't lose all year. It could have, which is true of most teams that win all of their games, but they didn't lose. So they got into the polls and then crept up, all the way to number one, as everyone else around them lost. Does it mean they are better than Oregon? Florida? Alabama? Ohio State? No, certainly not. They didn't lose so they just kept creeping up the charts.
Some will say that Notre Dame deserves to play for a national championship. They did everything asked of them. They had to win each week. Mission accomplished. All thanks to Brian Kelly.
Brian Kelly is both a perpetrator and a victim of the coaches crazy carousel and as such he has drawn the ire of many, especially UC fans. Although I must give Kelly his proper due. Even though he, with a bald-face, flat out lied to the players, faculty, administration, students, alumni, benefactors and fans of the University of Cincinnati as it was poised to play a BCS game and finish a perfect season, was a success at every stop along the way, and stayed at each school long enough to bring in his system. He didn't just go from assistant to short term head coach to street rat program the way recent coaches are moving. He took his time. Right now it's paying off for him, and for Notre Dame.
I am happy for my Notre Dame friends. It has been a long time since they have really had something to cheer about for 'ole Notre Dame.
This one is tougher. And seriously it is only tough because of the creep. Northern Illinois entered the polls near the end of the season, and as other teams were falling by the wayside, the Huskies had some quality wins against teams like Toledo and Kent State. The result is that they crept up the polls and finished high enough to secure a BCS berth. Not because they are better and more deserving than some other teams, but because they didn't lose recently.
This brings to mind two major points. First is the idea that the Cinderella stories don't get the love in college football like they do in March Madness. I disagree. Second is that Northern Illinois did what it was supposed to do in order to gain admittance to the BCS. I disagree here, too.
Cinderella stories get love almost any time they come true. Almost any time. I would argue that Cinderella loses her appeal as the NCAA basketball tournament wears on. Lately we've had Butler, George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth University all reach the Final Four. I would also argue that playing in a mid-level conference does not, by itself, qualify one for Cinderella status. Butler was a damn good team with real NBA caliber talent on the floor. VCU was the true Cinderella of recent years and yet when it came time for the Final Four, nobody really wanted to watch them. No. Cinderella plays well early, when there are other games to watch, but when we get down to a few, no one wants them.
Northern Illinois isn't a Cinderella either. They are simply the product of a terrible system, and it isn't their fault. I'm not an SEC nut job like so many college football fans are these days, but I can't see NIU competing with any of: South Carolina, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M. NIU just isn't better than those schools. We could go on to name more schools in more BCS conferences, but why bother?
Look. I'm all for including deserving little guys. Remember Boise State? That was a damn good team and they manhandled a decent Oklahoma team. Boise was no Cinderella. Frankly, there isn't room in the BCS for a Cinderella.
Among the senseless tragedies is putting Florida in and leaving Georgia out, just because Georgia lost last. It doesn't get any more idiotic than that, folks. All in all, we kick the shit out of the BCS year in and year out and, I guess it's therapeutic, its also a big f-cking waste of time.