Friday, February 08, 2008

4-4-4 Revisited

A couple of days ago, a list of potential (or possibly planned) schedules through 2022 was leaked to the NDN site via someone allegedly in attendance at on-campus meetings this week. After talking to a couple people on campus, they said, while they hadn't seen the document in question, it might not be too far outside the realm of what would be sought.

Last July, I talked about the importance of the 4-4-4 tiering model. Without putting any imprimatur on this document or its accuracy, let's see how its contents match up to the ideal.

The original document went through 2022. I'm only going to do through 2016 because there are too many empty dates in the schedule after that point. I'm also going to assume the "buy games" are against Tier 3 opponents, since those are the only ones who'd be willing to do one-offs like that. Finally, I'm going to use the tier structure I used for the post in July (linked in this post's title), with the addition of Syracuse to the Tier 3 list.

S13 Tier 1 - MICHIGAN
S20 Tier 2 - at Michigan State
S27 Tier 2 - PURDUE
O04 Tier 3 - STANFORD
O11 Tier 3 - at North Carolina
O25 Tier 2 - at Washington
N08 Tier 2 - at Boston College
N15 Tier 3 - vs. Navy (Baltimore)
N22 Tier 3 - SYRACUSE
N29 Tier 1 - at USC

Balance: 6-5-1
Tiers: 2-5-4, plus non-BCS

Evaluation: Unacceptable. At the absolute minimum, the non-BCS opponent should be replaced by Tier 1 game.

S12 Tier 1 - at Michigan
S26 Tier 2 - at Purdue
O17 Tier 1 - USC
031 Tier 3 - vs Washington State (San Antonio)
N07 Tier 3 - NAVY
N14 Tier 2 - at Pittsburgh
N28 Tier 3 - at Stanford

Balance: 7-4-1
Tiers: 2-5-4, plus non-BCS

Evaluation: Unacceptable. As above, the non-BCS team should be replaced by a Tier 1. If ND scheduled a home-and-home with a Tier 1 team for those two years, it would also put the balance at 6-5-1 for both seasons. Problems solved.

S04 Tier 2 - PURDUE
S11 Tier 1 - MICHIGAN
S18 Tier 2 - at Michigan State
S25 Tier 3 - STANFORD
O02 Tier 2 - at Boston College
O16 Tier 3 - vs. Army (Chicago)
O23 Tier 3 - vs. Navy (Baltimore)
N07 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
N13 Tier 3 - RUTGERS (tentative)
N20 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
N27 Tier 1 - at USC

Balance: 7-3-2
Tiers: 2-4-6

Evaluation: The worst. Playing three true road games is awful enough. But three Tier 3 games at home in November? Who is going to buy tickets to watch body-bag games in 40-degree weather? Those "buy games" need to be changed to something more competitive -- a Tier 1 and Tier 2 at a minimum.

S03 Tier 2 - at Purdue
S10 Tier 1 - at Michigan
S24 Tier 2 - at Pittsburgh
O08 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
O15 Tier 3 - vs. Army (Orlando)
O22 Tier 1 - USC
O29 Tier 3 - RUTGERS/NAVY (resolve conflict)
N12 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
N26 Tier 3 - at Stanford

Balance: 7-4-1
Tiers: 2-3-7

Evaluation: It appears I spoke too soon. I didn't think they could get worse from 2010. Silly me. Even if you assume UConn can hit Tier 2 consistently and USF continues its upward trend, this is a truly heinous schedule. Never mind the quality, look at the timing. Three of the first four games are on the road. Once again, we're at home three times in cold weather. This schedule is four years away, and they still put it together poorly.

S01 Tier 3 - vs. Navy (Dublin)
S08 Tier 2 - PURDUE
S15 Tier 2 - at Michigan State
S22 Tier 1 - MICHIGAN
O06 Tier 3 - vs. Baylor (New Orleans)
O13 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
O20 Tier 2 - PITTSBURGH (or Nov. 3 or 10, TBD)
O27 Tier 1 - at Oklahoma
N03 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
N10 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
N17 Tier 3 - WAKE FOREST
N24 Tier 1 - at USC

Balance: 7-3-2
Tiers: 3-3-6

Evaluation: It's better than 2011, which is kind of like being a taller midget. But the slight gain in replacing a Tier 3 with a Tier 1 is lost by a return to only three true road games.

It's disheartening to me we're already five years out, and not only are none of the schedules acceptable, they're steadily moving away from the ideal.

A31 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME** (possibly Washington State)
S07 Tier 1 - at Michigan
S14 Tier 2 - at Purdue
S28 Tier 1 - OKLAHOMA
O05 Tier 3 - vs. Arizona State (Dallas)
O19 Tier 1 - USC
O26 Tier 3 - vs. Connecticut (Foxboro)
N02 Tier 3 - NAVY
N09 Tier 3 - CINCINNATI (tentative)
N16 Tier 3 - at Rutgers
N23 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**(possibly Army Nov. 16, if Rutgers can move)

Balance: 7-3-2
Tiers: 3-2-7

Evaluation: The crapulence flows unabated. Where to begin? Seven tier-3's. Tier 1's front-loaded. No decent game after October 19th. This is truly awful.

A30 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
S06 Tier 3 - vs. Navy (site TBD)
S13 Tier 2 - PURDUE
S20 Tier 1 - MICHIGAN
O04 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
O11 Tier 3 - vs. Army (Orlando)
O25 Tier 3 - at Arizona State
N15 Tier 3 - vs. Rutgers (Giants Stadium)
N22 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
N29 Tier 1 - at USC

Balance: 7-2-3
Tiers: 2-2-8

Evaluation: That is not a misprint. Eight tier-3 teams. Two true road games. This schedule would be an embarrassment to Notre Dame.

S05 Tier 2 - MISSOURI
S12 Tier 1 - at Michigan
S19 Tier 2 - at Purdue
S26 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
O03 Tier 3 - ARMY (tentative)
O10 Tier 3 - NAVY
O17 Tier 1 - USC
O24 Tier 3 - vs. Connecticut (Meadowlands)
O31 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME** site TBD
N07 Tier 3 - **BUY GAME**
N14 Tier 2 - at Pittsburgh
N21 Tier 3 - RUTGERS

Balance: 7-3-2
Tiers: 2-3-7

OK, I'm stopping here. I know I said I was going to go through 2016, but we've transcended crapulence and are now wandering the realm of abject putrescence.

I said at the beginning I couldn't vouch for the accuracy of the document. Having now attempted to analyze (most of) it, the opinion of my on-campus friends notwithstanding, and without impugning the character of the document's sender, I'm reaching the conclusion it's some kind of blind or other fake. I cannot comprehend any ND administrator thinking this kind of thing is a good idea, so I'm forced to conclude it didn't come from them. Perhaps they were trying to locate a leak or something.

But I'm making this post anyway because, as outlandish as this may seem, my on-campus folks were still not convinced it wasn't a possibility. If that's the case, it's a possibility we must guard against. And guard against it we will.



Blogger Craig said...

I ask just one question: who among us would not be begging to join the Big 10 instead of playing a schedule like these?

2/08/2008 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous PJC said...

If accurate, Notre Dame would become the Harlem Gobetrotters of college football. ND would play the Washington Generals 7 or 8 times per year in South Bend and other locales (but never on the Generals home floor) with meaningful games against the Lakers and Celtics twice per year.

One other thing - I love my trips to campus and try to do it as much as possible. Many people consider it a pilgrimage to travel to South Bend. Like printing too much money though, a trip to South Bend loses its value when done 7 or 8 times per year.

2/08/2008 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous JZT said...

I might consider Rutgers and Wake Forrest tier 2 opponents. Your point is well taken though... Too bad Notre Dame couldn't get into Minnesota for that first game in their new stadium.

2/08/2008 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

I wouldn't be begging to join the Big 10, I'd be begging for the heads of the idiots who put those schedules together.

(not the same Craig)

2/08/2008 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

In what universe could Rutgers be considered a "Tier 3" game? Last I checked, their team was better than ours. Talk about fulfilling the stereotype that everyone holds about ND fans.

Rutgers and UConn are the exact types of teams we should be playing on a regular basis. I don't think they are any better or worse than Michigan State or Purdue. And their fans are probably a lot less irritating.

The way I see it, the schedule should be set up in another fashion: 5 games each year against the Purdues and UConns of the world, with 7 remaining games against upper and lower echelon teams. So each year you have Michigan and USC as givens on the upper side, and two service academies on the lower. That leaves you with 3 games left, for which you schedule two more upper echelon teams and 1 lower, or vice versa. Some years the "swing game" will be Oklahoma; others it will be Syracuse.

Each year some team already on the schedule morphs into a contender i.e. BC this year (like Kansas or Mizzou this year as well, you never can tell 5 years down the road). At this point you just hope the years that happens, you have two lower echelon teams out of that final three scheduled to balance it out. Some years that won't happen, and you'll end up with 4 upper echelon teams plus that one middling team that happens to be really good this year, thus making the schedule inordinately tough. Some years you'll only have 3 uppers scheduled, but the usually middling team won't get good all of a sudden, and it will look easy. But at least you've achieved some semblance of balance, AND you've accounted for the volatility in the performance of many of the teams that are usually on our schedule. Trying to pigeonhole the schedule into this static 4-4-4 format is not realistic in today's college football world.

2/08/2008 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Doc Possum said...

I believe buy should be bye. However it probably was a Freudian slip since White seems to be squeezing dollars out of our heritege.

2/08/2008 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

November, with the exception of a biannual trip to Los Angeles, becomes a craptacular month. As a ticket buying alum, I say No thanks.

2/08/2008 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

If "Buy Game" were meant to indicate an off week, ND would have two to three off weeks a season in addition to the actual off weeks, which were listed in the document but not included in the blog post.

2/08/2008 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

"In what universe could Rutgers be considered a 'Tier 3' game?" Ours. Prior to Greg Schiano's arrival, they had no football tradition to speak of. Even under Schiano, outside of the 11-2 season in 2006, they've averaged seven losses a season in a mediocre conference.

"Rutgers and UConn are the exact types of teams we should be playing on a regular basis. I don't think they are any better or worse than Michigan State or Purdue. And their fans are probably a lot less irritating." Not historically. And the irritating nature or lack thereof of their fanbase is not relevant to the discussion.

2/08/2008 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't been to a game in 14 years, but remember going to the ND-Rice game in November back in about 89 or 90 when the team was great. The weather stunk and I had about 10 tickets to give away and couldn't find anyone to take them.

I got my boss 4 tickets to ND-Air Force this year. She told me that there were tons of empty spaces in the stadium.

I would think people will stop going into the lottery for these "Buy" games and just show up to get tickets for face value or less.

Maybe he's trying to get people to say "Join the Big East" rather than play this steaming pile of dog feces.

2/08/2008 06:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about adding a quality SEC opponent? With the talent in the southeast it would help recruiting 'talent rich' states. I understand that at one time we were negotiating with Alabama for a home-and-home series, what happened?

2/08/2008 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is hard to buy into a system that rates South Florida the same as Army.

South Florida can win at Auburn and can beat West Virginia. Army can't and will never be able to do that.

2/08/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Quark said...

The schedule for 2008 is near-perfect:
- a winnable tune-up to start the season
- Home/Away balance throughout the season
- "Tier 1" games home and away
- At least 50% of teams coming off of bowl seasons

I think it's cute you think ND should play 3 elite teams per year, as if 1) we can find 3 such teams willing to play ND home and away, and 2) any other team in the national championship picture is doing the same thing.

A heroic schedule would accomplish exactly nothing. Talented, well-coached teams would go 10-2 and get a nice consolation bowl prize. Wake up to this reality: beating a bunch of nobodies is better to losing to one somebody. It's not sexy, but it's the state of college football today.

2/08/2008 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

I've seen these schedules before. They appeared after my 12 consecutive undefeated, National Championship season on EA Sports NCAA Football 2005.

2/08/2008 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three things you can reasonably infer from this future schedule. 1. The scheduler believes in global warming 2. The scheduler would rather invest in a then IBM. and 3. The Scheduler likes to listen to one hit wonders.

2/08/2008 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Eberle said...

I agree with much of what Tyler said in his post. The same with Mike Coffey's comments.

Quark, we were at the Air Force game, and "tons of empty seats" were not visible to us. Considering the season the Irish were experiencing, we thought the crowd was excellent.

My personal take on the scheduling issue is that if ND is going to get a BCS Bowl bid, we cannot have more than two losses. One or none would be the best assurance. Playing a schedule like we had this last season would make it almost impossible to post that kind of a record every year. The BCS is the way it is, and it is about having few or no losses.

2/09/2008 06:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand where you're coming from and I get your point. However, it's hard to predict how good/bad a team will be 10 years into the future. Do you think teams looked at us last year as a patsy when the schedule came out 3 years ago? You just don't know. Overall, I think it would be a big blow to our credibility to propose a schedule like this. We need to continue to play top tier teams from EVERY conference, or just join one. I like the national flavor of our schedule now and given the spread geography of our fan base and recruiting, it still makes the most sense. Overall, I hope the administration understands the big picture damage this would cause to recruiting, our TV coverage and national leadership if they started scheduling these types of games. I do have one final question-- If Weis can turn this thing around (and I think he can), what conference powers will want us as a non-conference opponent?

2/09/2008 07:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Bro. Andre said...

1. The 'Trotters are the greatest bball team ever.
2. That's beside the point because I agree the 'geniuses' who do scheduling have never seen a football in their life. Today's college football world dictates that to have regular success one has to only play 1 or 2 football factories (not about the classes, ie. Mich, USC, OU, LSU, Texas, etc., so more than that is counterproductive ('12 and '13 already fail). I prefer a schedule which keeps only 2 factories at the most, limiting state schools to 2 (for regional games: MSU, PU, IU; filling the rest of the schedule with predominately our peer institutions, ie. the acadeimes, BC (ugh), Duke, Stanford, Rice, WF..
By my system, we're still not great, but getting better. 2010 and 2011 are the best of a still bad
fountain of scheduling ideas.
Go Irish!

2/09/2008 07:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such double standards by Nd fans. We cry when we go 3-9 playing a moderately difficult schedule, miss out on any bowl, and call the scheduler an idiot.
The schedule is set up like the OSU's, USC's, Texas, Michigan, big ten, Oklahoma,etc-everyone but the SEC's best who still play D1a schools in there off games- designed to get us to the BCS champoinship game, and everyone still crys foul. What is it Irish fans are looking for? I would much rather be 12-0 than 3-9. Also tier 1,2, and 3 will be totally different 2 years from now-the scope of college football.

2/09/2008 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

How many "tier 1" teams did USC play last year? How about Ohio St? In this current era, only the SEC teams play hard schedules and only good luck allowed their two loss champion into the title game. And we all know that over time, teams change. 10 years ago who would have predicted that playing Florida St and Miami would be easy as it was this year. Or, predicted that Washington would finish at the bottom of the Pac 10. I think this schedule represents a good understanding of the current reality of the BCS and takes into account the basic unpredictability of guessing what teams will be good in the future. Remember opening the season with an easy "tier 3" game against Northwestern? Jim

2/09/2008 07:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There weight of authority suggests that 4-4-4 is not required to either: (a) have an honorable football schedule; or (b) make BCS championship games with a legitimate argument that we belong there.

3-5-4 is acceptable.
3-4-5 is also acceptable.

4-4-4 is clearly acceptable but not necessary or expedient, and does not reflect Ara era scheduling (recognizing, of course, that we didn't play 12 games back then either). Holtz's teams were forced to play 4+ Tier I teams in seasons through 1991, but these schedules yielded only one undefeated season.

The 1991 team is perhaps the best example of the dangers of a 4-4-4 model. That team was loaded with talent -- perhaps more so than almost any ND team in the past 20 years. And, of course, that team showed its true talent by destroying a powerful Florida team in the Sugar Bowl. Still, the 4-4-4 model yielded 3 losses and removed what was an excellent team from the NC-hunt. ND lost to 3 of its 4 Tier I teams that year (Tenn, PSU, UM), while beating USC. It should also be noted that the 9-3 ND team of 1992 would not make the BCS today. It was only due to the "old" bowl system (sigh...I miss it) that we were allowed to make it to a major bowl that year.

That being said, 2-6-4 and the like are more clearly unacceptable. So, I also take issue with the schedules presented here.

3 Tier I games is the optimal choice, and used to be the model-of-choice on NDNation sans ACross until 4-4-4 slipped its way into discussions about 2 months ago.

I have noticed many posters who previously espoused 3 Tier I games who are now mandating the 4-4-4 model. I have yet to see a narrative explanation about why 4 Tier I games are necessary or expedient.

More necessary and expedient than 2 Tier I games, sure. But not more necessary or expedient than 3.

Overall, I still think that reasonable people can disagree as to whether 3 or 4 Tier I teams is a good choice -- but the weight of authority suggests that 3 Tier I teams is optimal and should be followed more often than not.

One final point -- not all Tier I teams are created equal. For example, some current Tier I teams are obviously on a high trajectory. Others are wallowing in poor coaching and recruiting (but, being Tier I teams, have history, tradition, and the potential to be great).

2/09/2008 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty ridiculous post by you guys. You all want ND national championship, but ND playing ridiculous teams everywhere does not put them on par with the rest of the country. Check the Top 10 and see their schedules, they have anywhere between 4 and 5 cupcakes. I have no problem with these schedules because the Irish are looking at playing 3-4 ranked opponents a year. Which is more then I can say about much of the Top 25.

2/09/2008 08:48:00 AM  
OpenID doniparks said...

Kevin White should be fired for last years schedule. (loading the front half of the schedule) Why can every other team in the country start the season with a patsy. I think ND should start with an easy game as long as it is D1 and not 1AA or what ever they call that now. After that there should no more than 3 tier 1 games. Tier 1 games should be spread out thruogh the season. this leaves you 8 games to devide between tier 2 and 3 opponents. I would be happy with just 2 tier 1 teams. (mich. and usc) Ohio state played one tier 1 opponent last year and it was good enough to get them to the NC game. I love ND and it's history as much as anyone but I want a NC back in South Bend. But if we keep loading the schedule with tier 1's and start the season with though games it's probably not going to happen. I would much prefer a 2-6-4or 3-4-5 tier system, with a ter 3 to start the season. I will watch ND play any D1 team. So stop making stupid front loaded and though schedule's.

2/09/2008 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger root said...

If one assumes we are to remain independent, there is really just one balance issue to consider: getting to a BCS bowl and keeping a very valuable TV contract. Anyone who thinks a competitive schedule is key to getting to the BCS need only review Ohio State's schedule...very weak B10 and three pathetic non-con games. On the other hand, does the value of our TV contract drop dramatically if we have only one major program home game? Also, as others have said, what major program will want to play a home-home series with ND the way BCS currently plays out?

2/09/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark in Seattle said...

ASU is not a tier 3 team. They are consistently better than Michigan State and Purdue. As a middle of the Pac 10 team (and sometimes higher, like this year), they should be a tier 2.

2/09/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous irishmark said...

1966 National Championship..

ND 26 Purdue 14..Tier 2

ND 35 Northwestern 7 Tier 3

ND 35 Army 0 Tier 3

ND 32 North Carolina 0 Tier 3

ND 38 Oklahoma 0 Tier 1

ND 31 Navy 7 Tier 3

ND 40 Pitt 0 Tier 2

ND 64 Duke 0 Tier 3

ND 10 MSU 10 Tier 1

ND 51 USC 0 Tier 1

Score? 3-2-5

Is that unnacceptable? We won the National Championship

2/09/2008 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ND plays two top opponents every year, Michigan and USC. Who does Ohio State play other than Michigan? They played Texas a couple of times, but not this last season.
Furthermore, ND cannot beat Michigan State at ND stadium. Six consecutive losses. Let's get the program back on track. I doubt there will be much whining from ND fans and alumni if ND returns to the top of college football.

2/09/2008 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A home-and-home with a quality SEC opponent needs to get done. Alabama has expressed interest. Tennessee and LSU have done so in the past. They're also the only quality programs in the SEC who would actually come north in November.
Georgia won't do it. It won't happen with Florida because they have OOC game with Miami and FSU on the sked. We have no history with Auburn.

The rest of the conference is hit and miss, up and down, when scheduling so far in advance.

Replace Stanford with UCLA on a yearly basis. There's a history between the schools, although most of it is in basketball.

And for selfish reasons, if we're going to do this Big East fiasco, forget about playing UConn. Put Syracuse on the schedule home-and-home each year like we've done with Pitt. I live in upstate New York and have connections for tickets at the Dome.

2/09/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strength of schedule means little in my opinion, look at USC and their titles, who do they play? A schedule that looks like some of the ones above. Also USF and Rutgers are going to be good ompetitive teams and they keep the east and south within reach for recruiting.

If you want Notre Dame to join a conference have them figure out a deal with the Big Ten since we play so many of thier schools anyway and split the Big Ten into two divisions and you play the teams in your dividion execpt for a rotation that allows one team from the other divvidion to replace one from your division each year. Then at the end of the season you take a week off and then have a championship game. For the non-conference games Notre Dame keeps its priviledges for being Notre Dame, for the other schools they get to quit beating the crap out of eachothers win loss ratio while still keeping the Big Ten strong, and schedule a few more far reaching out of conference games to improve recruiting. You would get a conference that would be as good as if not better that the SEC and could use Notre Dame's position to get anohter BCS bid and wtih the championship game you have less of a gap in between the bowl game and the regular season.

Maybe I am crazy with that idea but it seems that non conference teams are starting to get bullied (yes even Notre Dame) through voting for rankings and through officiating. Maybe we should pick which confernce shoud be on top instead of the conferences picking the way things will be run. Think about it... Big Ten with Notre Dame and Notre Dame's position with NBC, great potential there!

2/09/2008 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right now we are a tier 3 team at best. I say we play the USC, Michigan, Pitt, Purdue, Mich State or Penn State, SEC team, Big-12, Navy, 2 added Big East teams and any other 2. When we can finally be a consistent 10 game winner - then let's discuss playing 4 tier 1 teams. LSU was lucky to win the national title with 2 losses and they did not play "4" tier 1 teams

2/09/2008 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In what universe is Arizona State a Tier 3 program? They have been better than Notre Dame over the last ten years, played for a National Championship (and were 45 seconds from winning it) and with Erickson at the helm will likely be a powerhouse program over the next four or five years. Placing them in tier three indicates a definite lack of football knowledge.

2/09/2008 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Scranton Dave said...

I agree with Quark. I hate that it is this way but Ohio St schedules that way and gets rewarded for it. Until College Football changes this horrendous BCS system, we will see more schedules like the ones ND has coming up and like Ohio Sts ahve been the last 2 years. I would like to see more quality opponenets also but not at the cost of playing for championships.

2/09/2008 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schedule Wisconsin. That's all I have to say.

2/09/2008 04:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arizona State, btw, is not a Tier 3 team. I am not a fan of the guy, but Dennis Erickson will have them a the top of the Pac 10 (or very near) by the time they hit our schedule.

2/09/2008 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

I think some of you guys are missing the point of the "tier 1" classification, and the general philosophy that is being espoused for scheduling. It's understood that the performance of teams comes and goes, but a) teams will tend to regress to historical norms absent a tier-jumping event and b) even in a down year, a "tier 1" is still a compelling matchup due to their cachet as a brand.

(That cachet as a brand means that ND remains a tier 1, regardless of our performance last season.)

2/09/2008 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Ted Eberle said...

I agree with Scranton Dave, and what a number of other posters have said. The reality of the current situation (BCS) dictates that we play a schedule that is not front loaded with difficult opponents, schedule our break not later than after game six, and that we should play seven games at home. That is the way so many teams we see playing in early January do it, and they are rewarded for taking care of their schedule.

2/10/2008 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At this point, might as well not even play a 'regular season', just play a couple preseason games and go straight to a BCS playoff. Only a delusional fan on Koolaid would actually enjoy driving multiple hrs and paying hundreds of dollars to see ND vs. Toledo in the freezing cold.

2/10/2008 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't disagree with your 4-4-4 structure more. It simply does not make sense and it shows a dangerous lack of understanding as to the point and purpose of a schedule.

Simply put, a schedule should allow a coach to prim his team to fulfill its potential. Playing a brutal 4 top tier teams, plus the very best in a championship, or if they go to plus one format, an additional top team, leaves your absurd Top Tier team count at SIX! You can not develop a team when you put them into a buzz saw. Period.

If you take a look at every major national championship dynastic run, you will see manageable schedules with the team peaking versus a top team, usually at the end of the year.

Your schedule structure is about as far from that as possible. It's bad for the coaches, it's bad for the players and it's bad for Notre Dame. A 4-4-4 is a recipe for frustration, coaching turnover, reduced recruiting effectiveness, and fan disillusionment. Simply put, a 4-4-4 would accelerate the unraveling of Notre Dames once proud football history.

With Michigan and USC on the schedule, plus a championship game against the Number 1 or 2 team in the country is ENOUGH. That's Three tough games in a year. The rest of the games should allow a coach to develop his team. We play our traditional foes, and fill the rest of the schedule with manageable teams. That is what an intelligent AD does. The 4-4-4 should be foisted upon our arch enemies and let them hack their way through it.

As for us, we need to concern ourselves with saving the endangered Notre Dame football legacy from the bad coaching and bad schedules it has been saddled with.

The current schedule moves by ND and, hopefully, a more stable coaching situation led by Weis give us the best chance of returning to the elite tier of college football.

2/10/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous smitty said...

The fact is, the best way to compete for a national title is not to play more than 2 or 3 'top level' programs yearly. The conference schools do the same.
The schedules look fine, and ND fans will show up to watch when we are 9-0 no matter who we play. Thankfully the powers that be realize the bigger picture, one that isn't making certain we have a marqee matchup weekly.

Mike Coffey is about as big a moron as I've ever seen post. We'd all be better off if he never stepped foot on campus again or associated himself with ND in any way, as he is of the same morality as what the 'haters' of Notre Dame deem us to be...

I hear Stanford needs some fans Mike, go post your vitriol over there.

2/10/2008 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

If you need evidence that 4-4-4 works and is necessary, look at the title game this season.

LSU played in the SEC, a tough conference without a doubt. Few, if any, tier 3 teams in there -- they played a total of seven games against teams ranked at kickoff. Non-conference, they played VaTech, then had Florida, Auburn, and Alabama during the regular season. Then they went through Tennessee to get to the title game itself.

tOSU played in the Integer, usually decent but this year way down. Their non-conference schedule was a joke, including Youngstown State and Akron. They had no games against top-20 teams at all. But they won all but one, and managed to get into the title game.

The results of that game speak for themselves. The tempered, challenged team blew the doors off the team that had scheduled itself into the game by not playing anyone of note because they had been challenged throughout the year and knew how to respond.

You can't play six games against crappy competition and limit yourself to a max of two quality teams each year. It doesn't work.

2/10/2008 09:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Playing 7 home games is smart scheduling. Most big-time schools are already doing it. It's about time ND did as well on a regular basis.

As for those who think an extra home game detracts from the magic of returning to SB, I'll gladly buy your tickets. I also plan on attending the contests versus UCOnn, SOuth Fla. and Army in Chicago.

2/11/2008 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

The other way to look at the data is to ask what would have happened to the SEC's 2 loss champion if there hadn't been a couple of upsets on the final day of the season? The answer is they wouldn't have been playing for the NC-in spite of their very fine schedule.

2/12/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tyler said: "Rutgers and UConn are the exact types of teams we should be playing on a regular basis. I don't think they are any better or worse than Michigan State or Purdue. And their fans are probably a lot less irritating."

You will find UConn fans are very irritating. After these schedules were leaked, a sports columnist for the Hartford newspaper wrote a piece complaining that the UConn "home" games with ND will be played in the Patriots' and Giants' stadiums and blasted ND for not being willing to play at UConn's 40,000 seat stadium that isn't even located on or near the UConn campus. UConn fans have a big chip on their collective shoulder because ND won't play football in the Big East, and there have been many calls by the UConn media shills for the Big East to expel ND and the other conference members who don't play football.

2/12/2008 09:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at most schools that are regularly contending for the BCS, you will see that they have similar schedules. In most cases they look like LSU's next year schedule. They have 8 home games and 4 road games. They play 3 tier 1 teams and 1 tier 2 team. The rest are tier 3 or what I would call tier 4 teams.

Is the goal to win a NC or to live up to some mythical standard of scheduling?

2/12/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Anonymous kmjackson said...

Why do I love ND football? So I can brag about how many NC we have? No. I love the games. Most of us do. Entertaining football is what I really want. One of the most entertaining years of ND football was Holtz first, we had a losing season. We get on TV each week because we have a fan base beyond our school. The number of Catholics that naturally identify with ND is diminishing fast. Why will NBC want to keep us on, entertaining football. Who wants to watch ND vs UConn? Its a hard sell to ND fans. Wake up, we need to play a national schedule against real opponents because we are the only real remaining Non-Conference powerhouse. When we win our share of NCs despite our tough schedule, it will be that much sweeter.

2/13/2008 12:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These schedules are not Notre Dame football. Notre Dame's history is that of taking on the best opponents anytime anywhere, and I hope most fans agree, I would rather see an 8-4 9-3 ND team that played numerous quality opponents than one that is 12-0 or 11-1 that played a bunch of nobody schools, it is disgraceful for the University to ask people to pay that much money for tickets than want them to go to games in October and November and play a bunch of chumps. Finally ND needs to tell Purdue, and MSU hey either you play us randomly throughtout the schedule or we will drop you for Big 12 or Mountain West, Pac-10, Big East schools, because there is no reason we shouldn't be able to play them in October and November. The following schools should be at least contacted about a home and home: Florida State, Miami, Clemson, Virginia, Va. Tech, West Virginia, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas,Kentucky, Texas, Texas A&M, Okla State, Texas Tech, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas,Colorado State, TCU, SMU, Utah, BYU, and California.

2/13/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with KM Jackson, playing a difficult schedule and winning the NC makes it that much sweeter. Example 1988 schedule were we went 12-0:
vs. Michigan 19-17 Mich 88 Big Ten champ.

vs. Mich State 20-3 Solid team
vs. Purdue 52-7 Big ten
vs. Stanford 42-14 pac-10
vs. Pittsburgh 30-20 big east
vs. Miami 31-30 Miami finished Number 2 in the nation
vs. Air Force 41-13 usually contends for MW title
vs. Navy 22-7 gimme
vs. Rice 54-11 gimme
vs Penn State 21-3 Solid team
vs. USC 27-10 Pac-10 champ
Fiesta Bowl vs. W. Virginia 34-21 Solid Big East team

6 victories against 6 very qualified opponents, 4 vicotries against average programs, and 2 victories against poor quality programs that should be the model. As well all know this was a great season, what made it great, beating such quality teams on the way to a National Title, not beating Uconn,Rutgers, South Florida,Baylor, or a bunch of tomato cans

2/13/2008 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would Moose, Corrigan or Rosenthal set up schedules as rotten as these? When I was able to go to the ND games I avoided Tier 3 games, most Tier 2 games and preferred Tier 1 games. Why? What pride or satisfaction is there in beating an underdog? We need a new athletic director who understands scheduling!

2/13/2008 06:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you that some of those future schedules have far too many home games (7 or 8) and some very bad teams as well as bad timing. But what I really would like to know is how in the world did you rate these teams. Half of the teams on there like Rutgers, South Florida, Arizona State, etc. all made decent bowl games last year and are up and coming programs. Even teams like Pitt and Washington have shown major improvement from their last few seasons. You blatently label any team that is not considered a perennial powerhouse a Tier 3 team. What does that make us then? The last time I checked we won 3 games last year and still haven't won a bowl game since '93. How can you call a schedule with Michigan, Mich St., Purdue, BC, USC, Pitt, & Rutgers a bad schedule? In any given year all of those teams could be ranked and in most years Michigan and USC would be in the top 10. You clearly looked at the timing of the schedule and assumed that any open dates would be slotted with cupcake games. You need to reevaluate your own article.

2/15/2008 09:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an old saying, don't hate the playa, hate the game!

So, last year OSU, Hawaii, Kansas...all played TERRIBLE schedules but took the money and ran. When we start rewarding teams to play a tough schedule we will play a tough schedule. It's the times. It's also nieve to think these are gimmie's. There are 85 schollies now, not the 100+ of old. Kids coming out are much better prepared. Just ask Michigan and their 1AA gimmie. I went to SIU, 1AA. Last I checked we are 3-0 against Big Ten and Mac in the last 3 years. Until there is a play off and computer rankings this is a must unfortunately. The days of block buster match ups in the regular season are gone.

2/17/2008 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Notre Dame is a great university and has a great football tradition. I am a fan of college football and hope that the fighting irish continue that tradition by playing those tough games and scheduling those top tier teams. Many teams today schedule many non-competitive games just so they can pad their stats and put a "W" in the win column. Yet how can they honestly make the claim to be the best if they don't play the best. I think that if a team truly wants to claim to be the best, then they would schedule to play the most competitive schedule. A balance of six home games and six away games would be good. You do not want to schedule too many lower tier teams because you stop testing yourself. Notre Dame recruits some of the top high school football players every year and I think that their players would up for the challenge.

2/17/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the important thing to realize here is that Notre Dame and it's fans can argue all they want about schedule re-arranging, but the fact is: they've got the schedule ALWAYS reversed. Each mock schedule I saw had 3-4 Big Ten games in the early part of the season, then easier teams (minus one USC game) as the season goes on. This scheduling will NEVER work in college football because the conferences are so good now across the board...and with such great competition between the schools from the conferences, by the time they get Notre Dame in a bowl game, they're primed and ready to beat them by 20 points or more. Here's my solutions:
1. Join a real conference, like the Big Ten, and develop some rivalries that actually mean something. USC is nice and all, but who cares about Navy, Army, Rutgers, and Pittsburg? Not me
2. If you don't join a conference, at least schedule with the intelligence about the team-building process during a football season. Schedule 3-4 games early on that are good teams, but not brutal teams...especially back to back. Then get into some tougher games in October, and in November schedule 2-3 games that actually will be a challenge and make you a better team leading into to the bowl season. It drives me up the wall to see Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, Boston College, and USC (every other year) at the front end of the schedule, and then Duke, Rutgers, Navy, Army, etc. in November. That doesn't help a team gel, it deters motivation and lures the Irish into thinking they're good enough because they beat up on a low-Div. 1 team. By the time they meet USC or a bowl team, they have no concept of how good (and fast) a great football team is.

2/20/2008 10:02:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home