Wednesday, December 12, 2007

If you want something done right...'ve got to do it yourself. That's the best way to live your life, because if you're not going to look out for you, you can be damn sure no one else will.

Non-Irish fans get hot and bothered when we talk about ND's unique place in college sports, football in particular. But there are some ways in which that uniqueness must be acknowledged, even by the most virulent hater. And one of those ways is the school's relationships with other schools and conferences.

When it comes to football, Notre Dame is a Conference of One. As such, the person in charge of the Notre Dame athletic department must be both an athletic director and a conference commissioner. That person is responsible for protecting Notre Dame's best interests regardless of the situation, and must always take the necessary steps to provide that protection even if it means challenging relationships with friends.

But lately, it seems this vigilance is yet another victim to ND's jones for outsourcing important things.

Case in point: Stanford, and David Grimes' spectacular touchdown catch. I call it a TD catch because that's exactly what it was. It was called that way on the field, and all available video replays at worst showed nothing to contradict that call and at best clearly showed Grimes' hand under the ball as he hit the ground, making it a completely legal reception worth six points.

But in a stunning act of what could most generously be called ineptitude (and least generously something far more sinister), the Pac-10 crew in the video replay booth overturned the call made by the Big East referees. Citing some random video angle, to which the rest of the sports universe apparently lacks access, they decided all by themselves Notre Dame should have six fewer points in the game.

ND ended up winning, so one might be tempted to overlook the "error" as, in the end, not having mattered. I'm not tempted in that manner, however, because in a game won by a touchdown's margin, an error that grievous could have been very influential in determining the game's outcome. At some point, a similar error may cost Notre Dame a game, and it's hard to seek justice in that instance if you haven't sought it before.

So from where should this justice come? An admission of error would be a good start. Last season, when a similar officiating gaffe led to an undeserved victory by Oregon over Oklahoma, the Pac10 officials responsible received a suspension and the conference apologized to the OK program. I think that kind of public responsibility goes a long way towards preventing future problems.

Yes, ND still won the game, but the mistake was still one of high-magnitude and the players cheated out of their accomplishment still deserve the proverbial pound of flesh. Notre Dame's officials should be seeking that justice for their players and show those players that when they're wronged, their school has their back.

Trouble is, neither Kevin White nor anyone else at ND is doing that. Why, you ask? Because all officiating matters of this sort are arbitrated on our behalf by the Big East. You know, that conference we're not a member of in football, and whose interests in areas like bowl bids and national rankings more often than not conflict with what would benefit Notre Dame. They're in charge of determining if we were somehow damaged by officials' errors (or outright misconduct) and what, if anything, is done about it.

Since when is that someone else's job? Since now, I guess. I couldn't believe Notre Dame would be willing to kowtow and yield control over its own interests to that extent. But it was all confirmed for me in an email exchange with the ND athletic department.

I was told Notre Dame has to have a relationship with a league in the interest of getting officials to do its games, and this arrangement was all part of that relationship. Obviously ND found another way to do it for years and years when we didn't use Big East officials for our games, and I don't remember hiding under the skirts of the Integer when we were using (and getting screwed by) their crews.

I asked why, considering how the various conferences have interests and needs that conflict with ours, we didn't use neutral officials in all games. I was told using a neutral conference was "not realistic" because the conferences don't have extra officials "sitting around waiting to be assigned to games", and a neutral conference wouldn't have the incentive to send their best crews to do games outside the conference. Given the lack of consequence should the Big East not protect our interests, I'd rather take my chances of creating that incentive by paying neutral officials well than continue to hope for the Big East to get religion and cover our behinds (not that it should be their job to do that).

Official observers are at every game making sure there's no malfeasance, and ND's official position is our interests are protected. But when I asked what the point was of having this kind of relationship if the Big East wasn't going to bat for us, the response talked about politics and internal processes and how conferences aren't in the business of publicly acknowledging the mistakes of their referees. My position remains if the refs who screwed up so galactically in a potentially game-changing situation knew they'd face scrutiny for it, they'd take a lot more time to consider their decisions to make sure they got it right and a lot less time worrying about what the guys in the conference offices thought of how they "protected the family", so to speak.

Any ND fan worth his salt can point out instances of Pac-10 crews in the Coliseum bending the Irish over and taking away wins. Unfortunately, the Big East can't be trusted any more than the Pac-10 can, as our game against Pittsburgh in 2004 proves. And the next time the Integer goes to bat for us will be the first.

The days of conference affiliation for football officials has to end. They've made that change in basketball, which has a lot more refs participating in a lot more games for a lot more schools, and it's worked out very well. Take away even the hint of impropriety, and let the market and performance of the officials become the determining factor. Have the officials overseen by the NCAA to ensure what's best for the game takes precedent over what's best for the conference or an individual team.

Some program with strong cachet and a national bully pulpit should lead the charge for that reform. Too bad it can't be us -- we've rented our pulpit out.

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Anonymous JW said...

Let's go back over this again.... SC vs ND in 2005, game on the line, BUSH PUSH gets Leinart in the End Zone. Was this a legal play? NO! Where was the protection from the replay folks? There appeared to be NONE! Who were the replay folks? NOT SURE. (This may be Need To Know info)
Fast forward to Stanford vs ND in 2007. Grimes makes a Sports Center catch for the TD ( as does Zibby and teammates with THE lateral TD) and we get homered by the PAC -10? Notice the pattern here. Someone is asleep at the ND control switch. Part of the football lore at ND has been to bear the pain of the error. Too many homer jobs in the Coliseum...At what point do we stand up for ourselves? What is the fear here? We seem to be the payday patsy in gold pants for these other teams.


12/12/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2005 opposing coaches had the option of whether they wanted replay or not. Pete Carroll chose no replay.

12/12/2007 05:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Scranton Dave said...

Mike, I agree and Im glad 3 weeks later someone is talking about this because nothing was done. I also agree that calling it ineptitude is very generous. I will go as far as to say that was flat out cheating. NO WAY can anyone look at any angle of that play and say that wasnt a catch. That was an example of lets kick ND when they are down. The Pac 10 officials are atrocious to say the least, you cited another great example in the Ok Oregon game last year that surprise surprise the Pac 10 team got the advantage because of the officials. I think a lot of the reason nobody has talked about the grimes play was because ND won anyway and the game didnt mean anything as far as a bowl bid. That call was so awful however , something needs to be done before ND gets antother bad call like the Bush push that costs us a game that matters more.

12/12/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Kbyrnes said...

I agree 100%, but what can you do? As an Catholic boy taught by the nuns, I propose that you recite the Serenity Prayer...and as a Chicagoan born and raised with south side Democratic politics, I propose that ND remember this when the Big East next comes hat in hand over some matter of importance to them.

12/12/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bad officiating in the Bush Push game was really the ball placement and/or not running the clock down on Leinart's fumble the play before-- either the ball is out of bounds on the 7 and the clock stops, or forward progress at the 2 and time expires before the Touchdown. But Grimes's takeaway is the worst call of the year by replay officials.

12/12/2007 06:28:00 PM  
Anonymous breezyNJ said...

I agree as well, lets not forget the 2005 USC game, when USC was calling for timeouts on the field, when they didn't have any... that should have been a penalty off the bat. I have said for a long time refs do not need to be assigned to conferences. I think it initiates the cheating and all the other crap that goes with games. Not only do we perpetually have refs against us, the commentaiting is atrocious. We have all odds stacked against us every game. And if the college football gods don't want to get rid of conference refs...I say we get Independant refs. If ND doesn't want to stand up for their program, maybe we can. Enough is enough.

12/12/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

Actually, calling TO's on the field when you don't have one isn't a penalty, the refs just ignore you.

12/12/2007 07:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted said...

Can the power base of Notre Dame apply pressure, financial and otherwise, to get Kevin White fired if he will not represent the football and other athletic interests of our university?

12/12/2007 09:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Mikes '79 said...

We ought to tell the Pac-10 to go to hell and refuse to utilize their officials at any of our games. Anybody remember 1978, when the tackle of Paul MacDonald was ruled an incomplete forward pass? There was no replay review at that time, but it was a horrible call that stole a victory from the Irish.

The Pac-10 zebras can go chase themselves.

12/12/2007 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger markmaystinks said...

at least one SC coach called for a time-out, which is a penalty. Just ask the Redskins.

12/12/2007 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Hermano said...

"Not only do we perpetually have refs against us, the commentaiting is atrocious. We have all odds stacked against us every game."

One, at least half of ND games are home games (more than half going forward), meaning it's NBC's commentators on the job, and they're pretty much the biggest homers in all of televised college football.

Two, HOW does bad announcing "stack the odds" against us EVER, let alone every game?

I agree with the sentiment of the article, though. The Pac10 officiating is atrocious. The Big East can't be trusted to have our back, but it's our fault for putting ourselves in that position.

12/13/2007 12:20:00 AM  
Anonymous MikeW said...

N.D. has been the victim of bad calls for years. I was at the Pitt game in 04 and it was the worst I have ever seen and yet nothing is done about it and no one is fighting for N.D. N.D. needs to get their own ref's or ref's that are neutral from a conference not involved with the game.

12/13/2007 01:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the Pitt game in 04. It was the worst officiating I have ever seen. Nothing is ever done about it. We definitely need independent ref's on th efield and in the replay booth!

12/13/2007 03:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can not have it both ways... If we join a conference, ND will have more voice and protection, but less flexibility.

The landscape of football has changed. Can we survive as an Independent and compete for National Championships. Just think about it... The Top Rated Conferences (SEC, Big 12 & SEC) have won the National Championship, since the BCS came about. ND has not competed for almost 15 years for a championship.

We can talk about the Bush push, but we were not a top 5 team that year... On a neutral service (w/o 8 inches of cut of grass to help), we would have been blown out. Like Ohio State, like LSU the last few bowl games.. We were a good team, not a great team...

Other Independent Issues... What about the BCS bowl games where major conference teams with 4 or more loses go to the BCS game because of tie ins or win the conference championship game. Do you think ND would have gone to the BCS game this year like Illnois? NO...

I hate to post this next comment, but it is true... If you follow NASCAR, the super teams (Hendricks, Roush, Gibbs, etc) have taken over and dominated. They have pushed out the little guy (1 team owners). The independent owner does not have enough money, resources and no help when on the track from teammates to compete to win a race, let alone win a championship.

I like the idea of independent.. but the economics have changed...
The Big East could be a perfect fit. They are a much better conference now, even after the ACC took the so call top teams a few years ago. Just something to think about...

It sucks the David Givens was jobbed.. Great Non Catch I have seen in a long time... Maybe, if we were in a conference, the "bogus" flag on the Rocket might have given us a championship or a split in 1989.. Who knows..

12/13/2007 07:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Ted said...

As Anonymous said in the post early this morning, I also question time-honored status of being an independent. Does it still serve ND the same way it did at one time?

I know that the sentiment among those in the NDNation will be to maintain the status quo, but I believe the points raised in the post by Anonymous are correct.

12/13/2007 07:57:00 AM  
Anonymous breezyNJ said...

Hermano: This is in response to your response to my comment. I am not saying that the commentating has anything to do with the odds against us. it just sucks when the refs are jerks and commentators are too. I am sorry if I didn't word it correctly, but after working 16 hours, you get a little tired. At any rate, I understand they are NBC commentators, but if you watch any other college football, and listen to the home teams refs, i believe there is a big difference. I am not asking for favortism, but I am looking for equality. And yes we do have odds stacked against us. But that has nothing to do with the commentating, just bad placement in my paragraph. Sorry if I mis-lead anyone.

12/13/2007 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Whitecoat said...

I beg to differ with those comments that an Independent cannot compete with the larger bodies. The difference is, who is the management of the Independent.

Solid Independent grocers can run circles around chains, and drive Wal Mart's in who is managing them to do so.

Independent voters account for 34% of the nation's voters, so Democrats and Republicans alone do not win's who is managing the political parties to gain the Independent vote who wins elections.

If Notre Dame management wants to stay independent - the dominating course, the management needs a much harder cover to do so. White has not shown as such in anything he does, right down to getting rid of Willingham. If Notre Dame does not influence to get its way, it must push its agenda straight forward, and get away from this "touchy, warmy feeling" approach that is permeating education, and I might add, our current football team. Proctor & Gamble and WalMart are examples of that dominating approach, but the Blue Goose Supermarket down the street is just as similar.

When I lived in New York for a few years I learned a great lesson in life from an old NY gentleman who was very realistic, and an Independent thinker...."never ask, just push to the front of the line, or you will always have others in front of you."

If refs are the issue, then hire and train our own refs, and tell the Big East we'll only use their refs for BBall. And insist ND refs are a part of every game. I assure you that we will have no trouble signing up teams to play if these refs are solid professionals.

12/13/2007 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whitecoat makes a good point. The NCAA claiming there is a shortage of referees is as ludicrous as hiring (part time) NFL refs that go back to their day jobs OR a Division 1 sport that doesn't have a playoff system OR can't penalize Reggie Bush/USC for blatant violations. Bottom line: The NCAA is the most corrupt organization in sports and until they are held accountable for their actions will continue to to do whatever they please. Perhaps Kevin White knows this all too well. There are probably 100,000 guys who know the game that would give their youknowwhat to ref a game on Saturday. A shortage my ass. I just hope the Grimes drops more balls like that next season.

12/13/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger markmaystinks said...

NBC commentators are hardly homers. How can Pat Haden, a proud USC alum and therefore a Notre Dame hater in disguise, does not have the back of the Irish. In fact, he seems to question at length many seemingly obvious calls that go for the Irish and ignores or argues against those that should go our way. The Zibby fumble recovery against Air Force sticks in my mind. He was forced to come out in the second half and admit that the officials replayed the fumble and agreed it the recovery occurred in bounds. And how many times did we have to hear about the atrocious play on the field, while ignoring some of the obvious reasons such as youth, Willingham's terrible recruiting, etc... Westwood One does a much better job without being over the top.The worst thing is you can't find any positive representations of the Irish on any other network or ESPN, either, because their stance is "Notre Dame has its own network to promote them." Heck, Haden never once promoted Quinn for the Heisman. He must go.

12/13/2007 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Riccardo said...

Actually, I agree with the intent of the article. The replay official's reversal was outrageous and total incompetence, if not outright intentional theft. However, Coach Weis did get an apology, although they would not name the replay official. Ask Coach.

12/13/2007 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous breezyNJ said...

I am so glad someone agrees with me on the commentating. Pat Haden is a major jerk. The only people that i ever hear speaking well of the Irish are Lou Holtz(of course), and Kirk Herbstreit. He is impartial which in all actuality ESPN should be. Their avid love of hating ND is no secret. Especially Mark May. I used to dispise Lee Corso, but he's calmed down some. And as for shortage of ref's, i say "yeah right". Lame excuse. We all must be stupid. I do have a question though. Who Does the replay officiating? Thanks for the answer if anyone answers.

12/13/2007 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree that Haden has no business commentating the games. I invariably turn the volume off on my TV because his comments and perspective irk me so much. The guy is a USC man, works as a lawyer, and does not commentate any other event. What is he doing on NBC during the ND games?

12/13/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conference refs are only looking to benefit their members, no matter the sport. ND women's soccer got the bad end of the deal again from the pac10 in the final four against usc over the last weekend. An important game to say the least on a championship stage. No one is held accountable and it is not just ND getting cheated. Oklahoma last year has been mentioned already. What about Nebraska's 5th and goal to beat Missouri a few years ago. Ultimately Missouri had more to gain as a big 12 member if they lost so maybe they didn't get too upset. Refs in general should be a seperate entity with no connection to conferences or tv networks either because the networks also have too much control in determining post season matchups and the repetitive 1 versus 2 throughout the regular season in college football.
If your out of timeouts and you without a doubt call for one, it is a penalty however the ref has to acknowledge it. The ref for the 05 usc is right there when the usc is yelling at him for a timeout and surprisingly didn't hear him. I bet Chris Webber wishes he could have screamed for a timeout from that ref back in the 93 ncaa national basketball championship
ND representatives can't say anything about the refs either because they will be fined when they are pointing out what is correct. Refs don't get fined even though they are wrong, only occasionally apolagize probably without sincerety.

12/13/2007 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...


Keep this topic alive and kickin' (INXS reference)because it is worth addressing with Kevin White at every opportunity.

Keep up the good work investigating why our school stomachs biased and incompetent refereeing.

12/13/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Think about this for a minute. The NCAA is so corrupt that they won't hire enough officials to get the job done. They refuse to demand that the conferences acknowledge poor performance of such.

Now, imagine the level of corruption ND has to deal with when it comes to the BCS! You think the NCAA is provincial? The BCS makes the NCAA look like the Quakers.

And Kevin White was supposed to get a better deal, with zero leverage, with the BCS?

I want a national pool of officials who will ensure that a given crew will not work more than two games for any single team. I want public mea culpas where appropriate. I want a full share of BCS money, as before.

I also want peace on earth and goodwill toward all men.

Anyway, given the current level of deceit and corruption, I'd like to see Charlie go off on some of these fools. Who's gonna fine him? lol

12/13/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You bring up very good points in your article. Agree 100% that ND should get rid of Kevin White for giving up on any future revenues should we ever play in a BCS game and never stands up to fight on our behalf. And yep, he should be on the PAC 10 to publicly admit Grimes' bad call. Doesn't the replay official have to have conclusive and indisputable view of the play to reverse the on field call?

12/13/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous JW said...

OK !...We started a firestorm...That's healthy. And this is just the first course of a 9 course dinner!

Anonymous brings up a good point that I had forgotten, that is: the 2005 rule that visiting/opposing coaches could opt out of a replay. HOWEVER, there should NEVER be any opting out when it is an illegal play. That should be an absolute. But it wasn't. Carroll should not have had the option. Ball placement is one thing. Blatant illegality is another...which is exactly the point...WHO sticks up for what should be the CORRECT call! Who is the sheriff here! This happened AT OUR HOUSE! NOTRE DAME! This is supposed to be an NCAA illegal play, but, for some reason it is never called! Why? Let's hear some thoughts...

Additionally, NOT being a Top 5 team for the year should make no difference in a legality issue. We were 4-1 and ranked in the 2005 week # 6 AP ranking at #9 and the Power 16 at # 9 coming into the game, with only 1 OT loss. (SC was # 1 in both at 5-0; Ohio State was 3-2 and at # 15 in both) If anybody was pumped up and PREPARED for the BATTLE of the CENTURY, it was ND (coming off of a bye week). There should have been an IMMEDIATE complaint filed with the NCAA over that non-call.

(Long grass: both teams played offense/defense/special teams and scored using it = non-issue)

If anyone heard the NBC crew remarks during THAT contest, please share. We were up in the SE corner upper endzone looking down at the FUMBLE,subsequent ball mis-placement, and Bush Push amidst utter bedlam. The game officiating seemed to force the rapid continuation of the final plays of the game. Looking back, it makes you wonder if it was a race to get the ball snapped prior to a replay. Haden and crew should have had some observation that would indicate his partiality.

USC's power when it comes to broadcast media is immense, so it is little wonder that PH could wind up there.

We can't reverse the USC illegal play of 2 seasons ago, but it sure makes the Grimes catch during our most recent Stanford game a significant RED FLAG which we need to do something about.

If Coach Weis did indeed receive an apology after the Stanford win, we should find out from whom and for what. Was there an in-house PAC-10 debriefing AFTER the game at which someone may have had the courage to say that the replay should have not overturned the on the field call? What if the Stanford team had held onto the last 2 passes and ND came up short, sending us home at 2-10? That is why this discussion has to find out whether ND has that trigger man to do his diligence, rain or shine. If Dr. White can't or won't, we need to find out who does. Someone up the Administration vine has this power to use. If an "athletic committee" can fire a black head coach for doing everything right Sunday through Friday, but not on Saturday, then that same "athletic committee" MUST respond to a legitmate lack of vigilance when a violation of rules hurts your institution.

We will save conference affiliation discussion for the second course!


12/13/2007 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not agree more about Pat Haden. Why is a USC alum on a N.D. station. He is as bad as when Collinsworth was doing the games. I also think Herbstreit is the best because he is fair and not biased. He calls it the way he sees it. Why can't we get an ex ND player to do the games?

12/14/2007 03:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the issue of no calls and very very very bad calls against N.D. football since the 1989 season is a major reason N.D. doesn't have about 2 or three more National Titles.
Start with the flag that shouldn't have been on the Rocket kickoff return...bad call no touchdown, no title. reason number one for concern.
Intermitent bad calls get orse and worse over the next few years, then the head honcho's making the bad decision in 1993 to give Florida State the title and not split it with Notre Dame, reason number two for major concern...second title taken away but this time by the top which begins to establish the dominance of certain major conferences.
As you continue through games, calls are getting worse and worse and I have logged some serious hours with my couch trying to see a bad call conformity across college football, but it seems to be just N.D. that has a continued streak of 'poorly officitated games.' Then in 2004 against Pitt, during a game winning drive for Pitt, EVERY PLAY that Pitt didn't get a first down on the officials looked at one another and if one didn't already have a flag in hand then a couple would pull their flags partially out and then there was the 'nod' and the other official would throw the flag, AFTER THE PLAY, I repeat AFTER THE PLAY. I was there and I was very close to them (front row) then after the refs marched Pitt's offense down the field on a tide of yellow flags, N.D. intercepted a pass in the endzone. Wait a moment, oh look the refs looked at eachother and threw a flag...pass interference, no interception...the entire stadium went into a united chant of bull****, bull****, it was pathetic.
Moving on to the infamous Bush push...the Bush push and the two plays before were just pathetic, there has never been a game, since the 04 Pitt game, where officials decided who was to win the contest, oh USC didn't win yet, we will give them another chance, oh not yet, give them another chance, oh they got in illegally, well they are playing N.D. let them go ahead and it will be alright, no one cares. They had to clear the field for the last play because the 80,000 people in the stadium new that N.D. had won, but USC was the winner in the refs eyes.
Fast forward to this year, Penn State, a school that I have alot of respect for, one of the many times they sacked Jimmy, the defensive player gets off Jimmy and before he walks away he ushes his head back into the turf, unsportsmanlike conduct right? Nope, the quarterback played for N.D. so the back judge whose job is to protect the quarterback (no matter whose team) just placed the ball and went on. That was potential injury to one of the players and it was blatant, no coverage on ESPN like Vick's little brother got for jumping on that guys knee, no one will stand up for N.D.
Then the David Grimes catch and the whole Stanford game, pathetic, all I have to say to those officials is 'hey you tried to win but our boys at Notre Dame stood up and beat both you and the Stanford team, wow we msut be on a comeback'
I listen to some of Notre Dame games on the radio and even the announcers are stunned and are speachless at times about the bad calls. One announcer said 'um wow I can't believe that call, I don't know what to say...' I hear that statement alot even from N.D. haters that are trying to point out a foul on the field and then when the refs don't call it they are speachless again, even the haters are getting toune tied and just try to avoid the issue.
What are we going to do people???
Post on ESPN, post where ever you can, but only some will care and it seems like those in power will just laugh and do what they want to do.

12/14/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous yz said...

i believe "alive and kickin'" was a simple minds tune....

12/14/2007 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The PAC10 replay officials have bungled other plays this year. A few weeks ago when OSU beat UW they did not review a play that almost cost OSU the victory. It took the OSU AD to throw a fit to the newspapers before the PAC10 took action by suspending the replay and game officials. The current head of PAC10 replay officials is more concerned about denying any problems than protecting the integrity of the game.

12/14/2007 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Anonymous said "very very bad calls against ND football since 1989". Don't you young guys know that ND was robbed the worst of all by the Pacific Coast League refs (that's what it was called then) in '64? That's when Ara's first team was up 17-0 at halftime in the Coliseum but the refs let USC get every call and non-call in the second half, taking away an ND touchdown, giving one to SC, and denying ND an undefeated season and the Nat'l Championship.
2. ND should NOT be in any conference --- much less the Big East. ND has the NBC contract for its own games only because it has sole rights to its games. If ND were in a conference, the conference would be part of the NCAA's contract with ABC. Not only would ND get far less money, but also we'd see far fewer games on National TV. And when ND did play in a BCS game it'd have to split the money with every other team in the league.
Additionally, ND would be able to schedule far fewer games outside the conference. If it were in the Big 10 ND could only schedule 3 games outside the conference --- and some years there's be no game anywhere in the Northeast, or no game on the West Coast, etc.
Lastly, ND would certainly lose its uniqueness --- it would then be just another football program with only a regional identity --- not a national team like it's been since the days of The Rock.
3. Although I wholeheartedly agree that ND gets screwed all the time by PAC 10 refs and sometimes by others, I must point out that fans of other teams think that ND always gets the calls against their team. Best example is Navy game in '99 when it was pretty obvious that ND did not make it on 4th down and the game would have been over, but the refs gave ND a very generous ball placement --- at least an extra yard --- permitting ND to continue driving for the winning TD. Also, I was at the Ga.Tech game in Atlanta a year ago and you should have heard their fans griping about the calls that went in ND's favor in that game, expecially when they called a late hit or helmet-to-helmet hit on the GT player who hit Brady when he was going out of bounds. So the best thing that would happen for ALL teams is to have refs and replay officials that are not tied to any conference and are routinely rotated so that they are not repeatedly working on games involving the same teams.

12/15/2007 08:08:00 AM  

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