Just trying to end a wild February
It’s been a busy week for Notre Dame Football, but unfortunately I went a little “part-time” this week. Sorry – kitchen remodel, teenage daughter and preparing for a Little League draft have taken over the whole show for the past week. So… let’s talk about some of these things.
ANOTHER DIFFICULT PASS
Whether it’s the real thing or just something that’s over the top, coaches keep passing Notre Dame coaching vacancies, and it’s not the best look. This week our focus has shifted to the offensive line coach and Notre Dame’s primary target earlier in the week was former Georgia Bulldogs OL coach Matt Luke.
Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
Luke left the coaching business after the 2021 national championship to focus on some family matters. Notre Dame tried the old college, but after a few days on campus, it seems Luke is a “thanks but no thanks” guy. The search continues and Virginia Tech Hokies’ Joe Rudolph and Minnesota Gophers’ Brian Callahan appear to be the next two (probably in that order).
So we wait.
If Jack Swabrick wasn’t in the news enough last week, he made up for it with a commercial that looks like an interview. You can read the entire transcript HERE, but I’ll focus on just a small portion.
In the latest OFD podcast, I proclaimed myself to be someone who may have finally found the ‘I don’t care if they do it or not’ button when it comes to football independence. There’s a belief out there (and Jack reiterates that with supreme confidence) that Notre Dame is in fantastic shape as an independent. While I agree with that sentiment right now – this is for NOW.
Notre Dame has always been cool about making a few bucks off its TV deal to protect its independence. The problem that can arise, however, is when that gap between Notre Dame’s television money and a random Big 10 or SEC school is half a world apart. That gap would basically put Notre Dame out of competition as a real threat nationally because they simply won’t be able to keep up and compete with higher spending. That’s why Notre Dame’s new NBC deal has to be incredible.
Again… Jack’s listed priorities don’t agree here, but at least the general consensus is that they need a lot more money.
“Well, the first goal, we’re speaking to NBC because we have the opportunity now, but what we need from our media partner, which NBC has done so well in the past, is for them to broadcast us nationwide. Every game.
And, B, give us the opportunity to promote Notre Dame. ‘What would you fight for?’ Ads are a good example. Nobody else gets 90-second PSAs. Being able to just see the campus and the way they cover our games and helps people understand more about Notre Dame. So that’s number one. It is our dedicated partner for our message and communication of Notre Dame.
Second, we need the funding to compete with the Big 10 schools and the SEC. And it goes without saying here that when we start new negotiations we have a very specific goal to make sure we get to that level because we want to be competitive.”
Jack followed these statements with his confident assessment of Notre Dame’s place in a world of conference realignment.
“Well, right now, a lot of attention is being drawn to the Pac 12 media rights discussion. And there’s a lot of speculation that if that doesn’t go well, maybe there could be another phase of realignment here as some PAC 12 schools move elsewhere. I don’t know if that’s the case. But it’s a very hot topic right now. And there is a lot of speculation about it.
I have never felt better about our independent status, both its value to the university and our ability to maintain it. Expanding into the college football playoffs, 12-team playoffs and six in major positions, gives us a fair opportunity to head into the postseason.
The ability to have a dedicated broadcast partner, as I just discussed, gives us the ability to remain independent. And finally, can we build the schedules that we need to build. And that was never a problem and it isn’t now.
I haven’t called a colleague yet and asked if he would be interested in playing where he hasn’t said yes, so we have all the ingredients. Honestly, it’s a great time to be independent and we’re going to take full advantage of it.”
The climate surrounding the conference realignment is still quite volatile, so I still have a feeling that a lot could happen to force Notre Dame’s hand — unless the money is right. The Florida State Seminoles, for example, could spark another insane rush across the country.
These are just a few things to think about.
EXIT THIS RIGHT HERE
The jokes just write themselves.