If we are a “what have you done for me lately” society, then why are we always talking about Notre Dame? A school year in and year out that has been overrated and over-ranked continues to flop when they are faced with tests. I will go ahead and say it: Notre Dame is the most overrated program in the past 20 years. Every year we hear about how Notre Dame is going to make some noise and how they play such a great schedule. Going into the season, the “pundits” all agreed that Notre Dame has the toughest schedule in the nation… fast forward to week 12 and look at the yolk on the “experts'” faces.
Take away Arizona State and Florida State and the Irish have played opponents with a combined record of a whopping 30-36 — so much for that great schedule huh? Don’t worry though, they play powerhouses Northwestern (3-6), Louisville (7-3) and USC (6-3) all of whom, shockingly enough, are unranked. Notre Dame is yet to have beaten a team that is currently ranked. The lucky victory over Stanford in which the Cardinal left tight end Ben Koyack wide open in the back of the end zone on 4th and 11 now doesn’t look like a great win, but a win against a team struggling to become bowl eligible (5-4). The Irish let North Carolina (4-5) hang 43 points on them in South Bend; not something a title contender would allow. To their credit, they played their best game of the season against Florida State when Corey Robinson came out of no where to play like the Admiral. After the FSU game, it was Notre Dame going back to their old ways of underwhelming when they had to rally to defeat perennial power Navy (4-5) 49-39. And of course this past weekend we all saw the Irish’s true colors when faced against a legit opponent, Arizona State. The Sun Devils embarrassed Notre Dame on national television 55-31, scoring the most points against ND since 2000.
Everett Golson who was ESPN’s sweetheart three weeks into the season was exposed throwing 4 interceptions, two of which were returned for six. The most asinine thing in the media is how every player is the next somebody or how everyone is the next big thing. We saw it with Kenny Hill of Texas A&M. Johnny who? Hill was the next Heisman Hopeful after throttling South Carolina. Surprise, surprise, SC turned out to be another overrated, over-hyped SEC school (4-5). Hill struggled mightily once hitting conference play, got suspended and now benched in favor of freshman Kyle Allen. Is Kyle Allen the next Kenny Hill now? It is always something.
Back to Golson; he kicked off the season playing four straight cupcakes: Rice (6-3), Michigan (5-5), Purdue (3-7), and Syracuse (3-7). Against four bad schools, you would imagine that if Golson put up nice numbers that expectations would still have to be tempered due to the level of competition, but nope. All I heard on ESPN was how Golson looks to be one of the most improved quarterbacks in the nation and is one of the best out there. Well if you stick a Varsity player on a team and have him play JV players I’m sure his numbers would look good too. That Syracuse game started the downward spiral for Golson’s play. He has now thrown at least one interception in 6 straight games and has thrown multiple INTs in three of those games. The scary part is, that he still was not playing good teams while melting down. He has thrown 6 interceptions against Arizona State and Florida State combined which is not good, but understandable. What isn’t understandable is how he can throw 5 picks against the likes of Stanford, North Carolina, Navy, and Syracuse. And what is more confusing is how has this team been ranked in the top 10 for so long if they have not even sniffed playing any one of relevance besides the two games they have lost?
You would hope and pray that the pollsters would not get fooled again and have the wool pulled over their eyes after that joke of a 2012 “National Championship” game where the over matched and undeserving Irish got thoroughly whipped and humiliated against Alabama 42-14. It was a season that saw Notre Dame get fortunate and win many close games but everyone knew that their luck would run out eventually and they would get exposed. What a shame that as fans we had to suffer through the slop of Notre Dame-Alabama instead of watching the high powered Oregon Ducks finally get another shot at the title after losing on a last second field goal as time expired two years earlier against Auburn.
We have to ask ourselves “why”? Why is Notre Dame force fed down our throats each year when fans know they are a mickey mouse pretender when it comes to the National Title. Why do they always have to hold a spot in the top 10 when they don’t deserve it? I understand they have their own network and are trying to get by on success that hasn’t even occurred in the 21st century but enough is enough. Since 1993, what has Notre Dame done to deserve being in the national conscience? Those NINE bowl losses from 1994-2006 sure don’t get me fired up. In fact, when was the last relevant bowl game that they won? Is it really last season’s Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers?
All I am saying is that the love affair must stop. This team does not need to automatically be inserted into the top 25 every single season. There are teams that are much more deserving that never get a look. Brian Kelly has made the program respectable again, but being respectable and being a top ten team and national contender are two different things. Notre Dame will continue to be a 7-9 win program that will get by on their name alone. They are finally integrating into the ACC which should either make or break their credibility as a program. Until then, we will continue suffering seeing the Irish in the top 25.