Notre Dame Football: Which Opposing Coaches And Programs Earn Your Respect?

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal walks out to the field with his team before their game against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal walks out to the field with his team before their game against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Palo Alto, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

A few of our writers chimed in with a little respect for some of the opposing coaches and programs on the 2018 Notre Dame football schedule.

The world of college football is filled with homers — perhaps more so than any other sport. We love our teams, and they can do no wrong. We often feel like nobody gives our Notre Dame football team the respect it deserves.

But have you ever thought about praising other programs and coaches?

I asked a couple of our writers to sound off on some of the programs and coaches on the 2018 Notre Dame football schedule and talk about which ones they have the most respect for.

Here’s what they had to say:

Sonny Martinez

Coach: Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern

Fitzgerald has been in charge of the Wildcats for 12 years now, and what he’s accomplished there has been phenomenal with 8 winning seasons and three 10-win campaigns. The program only had two 10-win seasons in the 124 years prior. He constantly does more with less and a solid majority of his players are just as much quality off the field as on. Simply put: he does things the right way with great results.

Program: Navy

Maybe I’m cheating with this one, but this is easy. These young men aren’t playing in hopes of a massive NFL payday, they’re playing for the love of the game. Once their time at the academy is over, they’ll be representing our country in one of the most powerful ways possible.

Jack Leniart

Coach: David Shaw, Stanford

It is not easy to maintain a successful football program at Stanford. The staff has to find players that can handle the academic requirements of the University, and they have to compete with the other major West Coast programs (e.g. USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington). Some credit can be given to former coach Jim Harbaugh for the foundation he built, but that does not detract from the outstanding job Shaw has done during his tenure. Oh, and he’s beaten Brian Kelly in five of their last seven matchups.

Program: Navy

Yes, this is kind of a cop-out answer, but I’m not about to show love to USC (ever) or Michigan (with the game against them in the near future). Building a formidable program at a service academy is no easy task. Maintaining that solid program for an extended period of time is even more difficult. That’s exactly what Navy has done. The history between Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy goes way back. If you’re not familiar with their relationship, I would suggest researching it. Maybe then you’ll agree with my choice here.

Mason Plummer

Coach: Ken Niumatalolo, Navy

He always gives Notre Dame a real test, even defeating the Irish in four of the last 11 matchups.

Program: Navy

Navy, no doubt. It single-handedly kept Notre Dame afloat when it was on the verge of bankruptcy and they are always a great game. They have never been a dirty team and have always treated Notre Dame with the utmost respect.

Connor McJunkin

Coach: David Shaw, Stanford

Hard not to respect Shaw, who is 73-22 in his seven years coaching Stanford. He does things the right way and has found success recruiting and developing talent — even with the rigorous academic standards of Stanford. He’s produced eight consensus All-Americans and has given Notre Dame its share of heartbreaks and long trips back to South Bend since 2011.

Program: Northwestern

Northwestern is usually overshadowed by the bigger schools of the Big Ten, but they deserve some recognition. They went 10-3 last year and have won bowl games in back-to-back seasons. Notre Dame’s matchup with the Wildcats in early November is going to be a more competitive game than many think. They’ve certainly earned the respect.

J.P. Scott

Coach: Pat Fitzgerald

He coaches with the same passion and intensity he had as a player. Since he took over the program in 2006, there’s not a single player, coach or fan in the country who could — in good conscience — use a Sharpie to put a “W” next to Northwestern’s name on the schedule before the game is played. His teams are always ready to play anyone, anywhere.

Next. Week 1 Is Pivotal For Both Notre Dame And Michigan. dark

Program: Stanford

The Cardinal football program is a living, breathing contradiction of everything you’d expect from a prestigious academic institution in California. Stanford is a throwback to the old Penn State’s, Nebraska’s and Oklahoma’s. They don’t do anything — including uniforms — fancy. They line up, beat you off the ball, maul you, play good defense and control the clock. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Win.