This weekend’s Notre Dame game against Syracuse is driving plenty of emotions. Site Expert J.P. Scott weighs in.
I’m in the minority and I know this, but I love the idea of Notre Dame playing in alternate uniforms in Yankee Stadium.
As I peruse social media, I see Irish fans complaining about the Shamrock Series in general. I see them complaining about the uniforms. I even see them complaining about the location being a bit of a homefield advantage for Syracuse.
Let’s start with the Shamrock Series.
Many Notre Dame fans and media alike want to see it end. Their arguments center around travel (which I sort of understand) and this idea that Notre Dame doesn’t need gimmicks with all of its history and prestige.
I disagree with that last part.
College football is a business. History and tradition will establish your identity, but unless you are perennially competing for a national title, you need to do more to stay relevant. Yes, that includes Notre Dame.
The Irish are a blue blood — maybe THE blue blood — of college football. You want the truth? Recruits don’t care. What they care about is program relevance. Like it or not, the Irish are not winning at the clip that Alabama and Clemson are.
Reality check: it would be a monumental upset if anyone but Alabama wins the national title this season.
Notre Dame, with all it’s history, tradition and money is still at a recruiting disadvantage to Alabama and Clemson. The head coaches of those two schools can narrow their recruiting target areas to 200-miles radiuses if they wanted to and land nothing but 4-start prospects. The Irish can’t do that. Instead, Notre Dame coaches must lure big-time recruits to a cold campus in Indiana — a day’s drive from the heart of SEC Country.
Notre Dame is a national brand, but national brands MUST advertise. The Shamrock Series is part of that advertising process. It’s a necessary evil that Notre Dame has the luxury of pulling off — largely because of its history and prestige.
Why not leverage it?
As far as the recruiting impact, I see people questioning what could come from playing in New York City, where big-time recruits are scarce. Guess what state borders New York? New Jersey — the hotbed of college football recruiting in the Northeast. Don’t overthink it.
As far as the uniforms, it’s the same argument. Alabama and Clemson don’t wear alternates. They are also in the national conversation constantly, serving as the main talking points in the ESPN universe during college football season.
Are this year’s uniforms questionable from a pure fashion and design standpoint? Sure, but they continue to draw more attention and conversation leading up to the game. Recruits around the country see that.
They also see Notre Dame playing in places like Fenway and Yankee Stadium. These are bucket list locations for a lot of people to visit, and Notre Dame is giving kids the chance to compete on these hallowed grounds.
That may not be the sole reason a kid commits to Notre Dame, but I guarantee that it resonates.
As far as the location potentially giving Syracuse a homefield advantage, that’s a silly argument that can be struck down simply by using a map. Nobody would consider Yankee Stadium a homefield advantage for Navy, Boston College or Penn State if any of them were playing Notre Dame. Yet all three of those institutions are closer to Yankee Stadium than Syracuse is.
Sure, there will be some passionate fans in the stands thanks to a large Syracuse alumni base in New York, but Notre Dame travels as well as anyone and also has plenty of alumni in the NYC metro.
There will be no homefield advantage for Syracuse.
With all of this said, let’s shed the negativity around this game, shall we? Let’s be excited to watch a 10-0 Notre Dame team march into Yankee Stadium and play a football game that matters against one of the toughest opponents it has faced all season. Enjoy the sights of Yankee Stadium, the quirkiness of the alternate uniforms and the ever-necessary national spotlight.