5 Thoughts - The Notre Dame Fallacy
Notre Dame QB Evan Sharpley
Notre Dame QB Evan Sharpley
Posted Oct 22, 2007

From not falling for the SEC hype, to all the officiating problems, to the LSU thrill ride, to the ongoing love always given to anyone who beats Notre Dame, check out the CFN 5 Thoughts.

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When parity might equal average

By Pete Fiutak   

1. If you want to beef about Ohio State being No. 1 in an awful year for the Big Ten, I’ll join the discussion. If you want to dog the Big 12 for being awful, and Oklahoma the flaky leader of the bunch, let's rap. If you want to start ripping on the Pac 10, well, I can’t help you if Arizona State plays past your bedtime and you can't find the Oregon games, but the league isn't the SEC. With that said, there's no reason to just assume the top SEC teams deserve any special consideration this year just because they're in the SEC.

Yes, the SEC is the best conference in America, and it’s not even debatable. Why? From LSU to Ole Miss, there’s not a total dog among the 12. That’s where the respect, at least this year, has to stop. Just like you shouldn't rip on Big Ten teams when they start beating on each other, you can't over-inflate the SEC teams just because they play classics week after week..

Everyone couldn’t dump on South Florida fast enough after it lost a tough, nationally televised road game against Rutgers. Didn’t the Bulls beat Auburn at Auburn? Didn’t Auburn lose to Mississippi State? Didn’t the West Virginia team USF beat just destroy Mississippi State?

Everyone has done a Peter Pan off the Cal bandwagon after two straight losses to Oregon State and UCLA. Didn’t the Bears beat Tennessee rather easily?

Everyone has made it fashionable to dump on Florida State after losses to Wake Forest and Miami. Isn’t this the same team that beat Alabama just a few weeks ago?

Stop making hotel arrangements for LSU for New Orleans in the first week of January, like the loss to Kentucky didn’t exist. Yes, if LSU wins out, I'll be the first to say it belongs in the national championship if no one else is unbeaten, but the defense appears very, very beatable by an above average offense. I'm sorry, but it's Kentucky, not the 1995 Huskers. That's why, after the win over UK, I don't want to hear any Florida national title talk, and it's not just because of the two losses. Who’s the best win over, Tennessee? Kentucky? Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina … throw them all in a vat of the above-average and move on.

With that said, next year, oh … my … goodness. Then the SEC will be unbelievable. Then it’ll be time for everyone to get out the ChapStick for the butt-kissing that’ll be done from pillar-to-post when most of these teams are more experienced. Until then, go ahead and give the SEC its just due respect, again, it's the best league in the nation by far, but don't just assume the teams are all that much better than the top teams from everywhere else.

Enjoy the 2007 LSU thrill ride

By Richard Cirminiello

. Forget Hollywood.  You can keep your daytime soaps.  No one these days is capable of delivering more drama than the LSU Tigers, a program that’s played one of the wildest, most exhilarating three-game stretches in college football history.  Two weeks ago, the Tigers scored 14 unanswered points in the final quarter to beat Florida.  A week ago, they go down to Kentucky in a three-overtime thriller.  And on Saturday, they may have topped even themselves, spurning a potential game-tying field goal in the waning seconds for a game-winning touchdown pass from Matt Flynn to Demetrius Byrd, beating Auburn.  The decision by Les Miles to go for the jugular with a timeout left in the quiver was gutsy, memorable, and borderline insane.  It very likely, however, would not have prevented LSU from getting a crack at a field goal after all.  While everyone is feeding you the fact that the Tigers scored with one tick left in regulation, that’s technically not accurate.  Watch the tape.  Byrd is on his back in the rear of the end zone with the ball secured with four seconds left on the clock.  He rolls through the end zone at three seconds, and is standing up at two ticks, saluting the frenzied home crowd.  The clock then moves to one second, but that was long after the play had ended.  Although Miles’ call was curious and up for a ton of scrutiny, even if Byrd briefly bobbled the ball, a review almost certainly would have added time to the clock, giving Colt David an opportunity to kick for the tie.                

Now the Tigers can return to some degree of normalcy, right?  Forget it.  After a well-deserved bye week, they’ll head to Tuscaloosa to play former boss Nick Saban and an Alabama team that’s tied with LSU atop the SEC West.  Make a little more room in the 2007 time capsule…LSU and the SEC might have another instant classic in store for a nation that’s been on the edge of its seat every time they’ve played over the last month.    

Oh those zebras

By John Harris

3. It’s hard in some sense to have a true respect for all that college officials have to handle during a 60 minute highly intense college football game, but this past week the officiating was as blatantly bad as any week I’ve ever seen.

Start in the UConn win over Louisville on Friday night.  How could seven sets of eyes miss Larry Taylor wave his arms to signal a fair catch and watch both Louisville and U Conn players stop playing once he caught the ball, without blowing the whistle?  One play doesn’t determine the outcome, but that one was a bit absurd.  And, it wasn’t an isolated incident. 

The LSU-Auburn had at least three horrid calls.  However, it was a non-call on the obvious chop block on soon-to-be millionaire Glenn Dorsey that irritated me (and I’m sure many others in purple and gold).  Some nasty stuff goes on in piles and scrums on the field, but this incident occurred right in front of the umpire who was looking right at it and didn’t call anything.  Costing a team a game is one thing (see U Conn/Louisville), but watching a kid get blatantly chopped, a potentially career-ending move, and nothing’s called?!?  That’s horrible! The thing that is most bothersome is that it’s not like a ref needs to be a rocket scientist, especially on the aforementioned missed calls. 

People, it's just Notre Dame

By Pete Fiutak   

4. No, no, no, I know what you’re thinking, and I know it’s tempting, but you're going to make the same mistake. Let me stop you.

Don’t fall for the Notre Dame opponent hype.

Ohio State beat the Irish with ease in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, and was basically anointed the number one spot in the nation the following season because of it. LSU obliterated the Irish 41-14 in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, and now pollsters and media types are giving the Tigers the benefit of every doubt ever since. Why? Because like it or not, everyone watches Notre Dame.

Heck, Michigan has lived off the hype from the Notre Dame wins over the past few years. Its 2006 season got kickstarted by blowing out the overhyped, overrated Irish 47-21, and everyone believed Michigan was a juggernaut. The hype only snowballed against the average Big Ten schedule until Ohio State and USC showed differently.

It’s happening again now. Michigan’s craptacular season turned around when Mike Hart guaranteed a win over the Irish, which is sort of like guaranteeing you’ll get run over by Britney if you take pictures of her car long enough. Penn State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Purdue all got too much love after beating the Irish, and now, people are starting to buy into USC again because of a blowout win over the hapless South Benders.

USC might actually turn out to be USC again once it starts to get healthy, but for the love of a Charlie Weis haircut, don’t start thinking the Trojans are “back” off this win. Just one week ago, USC stunk it up in a win over Arizona, and it was just two weeks ago when it lost to Stanford.

At the moment, USC still has to be viewed as just another team until it goes out and proves otherwise. Winning at Oregon would do that. Now, if Navy breaks its 43-game losing streak to the Irish, then you can hype it up all you want.

Oh those zebras, part two

By Matthew Zemek

To the people who run college football, its respective conferences, and the replay system throughout the sport, a very simple plea:
Starting next year, replay must be able to review anything and everything, anytime and all the time, in every game, in every situation. PERIOD.
After Friday's Louisville-Connecticut game, the need for complete and unfettered replay jurisdiction (brought to national attention the previous weekend by a string of replay controversies) has been made obvious, if not more than obvious.
If you didn't see it or read about it, here's the play that should reform replay jurisdiction/governance issues forever and ever in college football:
Louisville punted to Connecticut. The return man clearly waved his hand in the air to signal for a fair catch. The returner ran, however, after catching the ball.
Delay of game penalty, right? Wrong. The officials missed the call.
Here's where it gets better: if you're a properly-trained kick cover man, you're obviously not supposed to hit the return man if he signals for a fair catch. Don't want to give up 15 cheap yards, right? Well, that's exactly what Louisville's cover men did--they refrained from making contact, as they were coached to do.
This meant that when the Connecticut return man started running, he kept running and running... all the way to the end zone. Louisville allowed the run to the end zone because... well... the runner made a fair catch signal before catching the punt.
Still following this?
Here's the whopper: for some ridiculous and unexplained reason, determining a fair catch signal on a punt isn't subject to replay review. (Just who the hell makes these arbitrary rules, anyway? Hopefully, they'll be dead and gone after this season.)
Connecticut, then, got a cheap touchdown--actually, a free touchdown--while Louisville players and coaches did all the right things. In fact, the touchdown occurred BECAUSE Louisville players and coaches did all the right things. The replay setup in college football--as currently structured--presided over one of the greatest miscarriages of football justice ever seen in the sport's 138-year history.
Next year, replay must be able to review EVERYTHING at ALL TIMES. Anything less would not just be uncivilized. Anything less would be criminally unfair to all the people who play and coach college football... and to the officials on the field who, if backed up by fairer replay review provisions, would also look better as well.