Tuesday, February 13, 2007

An offer we can't refuse ... or can we?

In the latest piece of evidence that there is almost nothing about $outhern Cal that isn't obnoxious these days, a teenager writing for one of the most unfortunately-named newspapers you'll find, the Daily Trojan, thinks $C and ND should play in basketball every year.

On the surface, a good idea. ND has a strong alumni presence in LA, which was one of the reasons the football series started in the first place. A series would have good synergies (although I dislike that word) with things on the football side. Once things settle in with the new 18 game conference slate, logistics on longer-term contracts might be easier to work out.

But I can think of a lot more reasons it would be a bad idea, starting with the fact ND already has a strong basketball relationship with a school in LA, one whose "tradition" is more than a "work in progress" (translated: one year old). If $C wants to get things going with ND in basketball, they (like in so many other things) need to get in line behind the Bruins. Perhaps this is what the article was all about -- $C desperately wanting another thing that UCLA already has. But that's their inferiority complex, not ours.

When ND joined the Big East, a lot of long-time rivalries had to go by the wayside, like Marquette, DePaul, UCLA, and Dayton. Additionally, there were teams like Michigan State that had been opponents for a while that had fallen off. Changes to the conference have brought some of those great series back into the fold, but before ND decides to try and spark a "rivalry" with a johnny-come-lately like $C, tradition dictates they at least make strong attempts to rekindle the sparks of yesteryear that already exist.

Besides, how long will it be before the current cavalier approach to rules that so disappointingly exists in their football program bleeds over into basketball? Between Bush's situation, conference calls, and the general atmosphere of lawlessness, whether real or perceived, hovering over the Trojans, I don't think expanding our relationship right now is a good idea. Maybe, when $C is about honor and respect again, it might be something to consider. Right now, as Andy Cross would say, not so much.

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Blogger irishfou said...

an embarassing artical. im irish and hate sc but this article is just like your favirite uncle getting drunk at your mother in laws birthday lunch.

2/14/2007 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A strong alumni presence in LA was a reason that the ND-SC football series was started? In the 1920s? A comment like that made me think what else in this article is far-fetched. I do agree that to play an annual series with two teams from LA is not good scheduling, but it would not hurt to do a home and home quickie -- like we are are currently doing with UCLA football.

2/14/2007 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Cosmo Kramer said...

Great article with fantastic points. Why should we play $C when our non-conference slate has such heavyweights as IPFW, The Citadel, Winston-Salem State, Lehigh, Elon, Portland, Army, Rider, Stony Brook. $C isn't even ranked this year and will probably be even worse next year. Why should we waste our time playing a team that no one will be talking about next year.

2/14/2007 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm inclined to agree with irishfou here. When SC throws down a challenge like this in an effort to develop a new facet to one of sports' best rivalries, the response is a combination of (a) we used to play a nearby school a lot; (b) our modest to respectable tradition in this sport towers over your own total lack of tradition; (c) we're too busy playing cupcakes; and (d) another program in your athletic department has been associated with unproven allegations of sleaze. Seems rather weak and scattered.

One of the things that irritates me most about college basketball is the total irrelevance of half o the games played. Even the toughest non-conference college basketball schedule in the country makes Kansas State football's nonconference slate look formidable. Rockne made our football program by playing the greatest teams he could find anywhere and anytime. There are two reasons not to do this with our current basketball program: (1) it would require us to surrender some income from half-full home dates against schools we've never heard of; and (2) we might not cruise to 17-20 wins every year. Both reasons are lousy. This is where this article makes good points.

I have a feeling that if we err slightly more toward Rockne's philosophy that it will pay off. It has worked, to some extent, for Tom Izzo at Michigan State (which, as is implied here, is another program we should be playing).

To sum it all up, this is a program which badly needs basketball rivals. There are plenty of potential candidates, but there don't seem to be many takers. Why dismiss SC so quickly?

2/15/2007 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger El Kabong said...

If Notre Dame needs basketball rivals, not counting teams like Marquette and DePaul they already play in conference, they've got plenty from the annals of their playing history -- UCLA, Dayton, Michigan State, Northwestern, even Indiana (although the difficulty with home court there might call for a cooling off for a while). They've also had strong games in the past with Maryland, which is in a beneficial recruiting area, and Kentucky, not to mention Butler. If we want to keep the private-school thing, there's SLU and Creighton. There are plenty of ready-made rivalries -- we don't need to solicit more that won't do anything for us.

I agree there shouldn't be too many cupcakes, but I'd also suggest playing murderous schedules hasn't worked out too well for Izzo, at least not consistently.

It's not a question of not having takers, it's a question of scheduling smartly. ND should be working to get UCLA back on the slate.

2/15/2007 08:33:00 PM  

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