Rick Reilly should write more articles about how much Notre Dame does not matter in the landscape of college football. He should write enough articles so that the entire locker room can be covered with print outs of his words. Maybe Rick Reilly has inspired this resurgence in the Fighting Irish. Or maybe it has been there the entire time.
This weekend, Notre Dame will be featured on ESPN for several hours as well as a wide array of coverage on the NBC network. No, it will not be for the typical debate of, “Does Notre Dame matter?” but more simply a discussion of this year’s football team. That discussion will be very refreshing. But, it has been more than a visit by College GameDay to South Bend or an NFL Films exclusive about Notre Dame Football that has proved Rick Reilly wrong. Let’s start at the beginning of the year and work forward.
First, Notre Dame played a game this season in a foreign country that was televised during the early morning of Saturday, September 1st. Name another school that has the pull to be able to do something like that. The uniqueness of a University that can do something like that is immense. Not only did they do it, they made it a tremendous success.
Next, the Notre Dame-Michigan game in prime-time received the highest rating of the weekend over the highly touted Clemson-Florida State game. Even though ESPN wants its viewers to believe that only teams in the Southeast matter, their game received the lower rating. Notre Dame was not irrelevant that night.
Then, Manti Te’o, Notre Dame’s star Linebacker, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Granted the Te’o story transcends all boundaries of being a fan. However, it has brought a lot of publicity to the University and the program that was supposedly faltering.
This weekend, College GameDay and ESPN will come and talk up the Fighting Irish. Hopefully, Notre Dame will not spoil the occasion by getting upset by the Stanford Cardinal. Mike and Mike already hyped Brian Kelly and the resurgent Irish program this morning. College GameDay is in the same location in the library quad from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on both ESPNU and ESPN (or ESPN Radio if you are not near a television).
There will probably be a sign or two about how Rick Reilly is irrelevant. If he wants to disagree, he can write another article while he watches constant Notre Dame coverage on ESPN and NBC. Hopefully that article will only force the Irish to go on further to prove that they still matter in the college football world. That doing things the right way on and off the field CAN be done. And that the luster and mystique of Notre Dame still gleams brightly through the Indiana sycamores as a beacon of what is possible in this great journey that we as human beings call life.