Emails in on Stoops/Notre Dame, Mangino and OU uniforms
The new emails are in, and fans are talking about Mark Mangino, OU uniforms and Bob Stoops going to Notre Dame. Let’s get to it.
Dan: “Although I basically agreed with your column, I think you left out one important fact. Stoops, with his competitive nature, would certainly entertain resurrecting the Notre Dame program. The Oklahomas, Alabamas, Ohio States, etc. all have great traditions, but Notre Dame will always be the Mecca of college football. What other program began its tradition in the early 1900′s? What other program has movies made about it?”
I agree that Notre Dame could appeal to Stoops’ competitive streak. I no longer agree that Notre Dame is the Mecca of college football. It’s still a hallowed place. But Notre Dame has slipped; it’s slipped for more than a decade. Yale slipped. Army slipped. Minnesota slipped. No reason why Notre Dame can’t slip.
Nick: “Berry, you are wrong on two counts: First, calling Boston College a ‘fellow blueblood’ is really a reach. They have never been in the class of the big boys. Except for Doug Flutie, no one outside the state of Massachusetts even thinks of BC. Secondly, it is incorrect to think of Notre Dame as a ‘big-time program.’ Since the departure of Ara Parseghian, there has been five or six years that Notre Dame looked big time, but mostly they resemble a second or third tier team in the Big 12 or the Big Ten. I agree with the writer who recently said Notre Dame needs to quit thinking they are a big time program and start modeling themselves after Northwestern, Stanford and the like.”
Notre Dame hired Frank Leahy in 1941, In the 1920s and ’30s (and 1940), Boston College was as strong as any program in college football. Do I really have to explain stuff this elementary? Do I have to lay it out that when I talk about a 1941 hiring, I will use 1941 standards? Doesn’t everyone understand that Miami once was a sleepy college football program, about where Tulane has been? That Florida State wasn’t even playing football in 1941? Do I really have to explain that? As for Notre Dame being a big-time program, we can debate what that means. But to suggest that Notre Dame pattern itself after Stanford or Northwestern is just silly. Since Parseghian left 36 years ago, Notre Dame has been to 15 BCS (or equivalent) bowl games. In that time frame, Oklahoma has been to 16. OU clearly has the superior program, and Notre Dame has some issues that could prevent it from getting back to the top. As I just said, Notre Dame has slipped. But the idea that Notre Dame is relegated to inferior status is wrong.
Keesee: “I would take the rumor seriously. Brian Kelly of Cincinnati just might not be what the Irish are looking for. Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham and now Charlie Weis. Notre Dame could possibly be looking for a proven winner. That isn’t Kelly on the national level. Notre Dame has that exclusive NBC contract. Lot to protect. Urban Meyer probably won’t leave Florida (fertile recruiting ground where he can get the first choice of players). But in Stoops’ case, a different situation. He isn’t even in dominant position in his own division of the Big 12. That is Texas’. And as long as the recruiting grounds are in the state of Texas, Mack Brown will always have the inside track with the Texas high school coaches. Stoops needs to recruit harder and coach at a higher level to beat Brown. Plus, he has to feed the monster. OU just isn’t a pleasant place to coach if you don’t finish first in the Big 12 South. And with Texas on the rise, it doesn’t look like that is going to consistently occur. Plus, unlike Notre Dame, Oklahoma is a regional Division I school. Notre Dame recruits nationwide. Also, Stoops is a Catholic parochial high school player. Father coached for Mooney. Stoops at Notre Dame has the inside track for any, and every, high school Catholic parochial player, anywhere in the country. Even with Weis, Notre Dame has recently recruited in the top 15 on most high school football evaluation blogs. I wouldn’t discount the rumor. It could happen.”
Well, yes. It could happen. But it cracks me up how one season tilts the world on its axis, in some minds. Texas is on the rose, OU has slipped, so Stoops might want to get the heck out of Norman, since it’s not a pleasant place to coach if you’re not on top. All this 10 months after Stoops played Florida for the national title. And two others things. Brian Kelly is exactly what Notre Dame is looking for. And that Catholic parochial stuff might be the most overrated stuff in sports. This isn’t 1954.
Bob: “Your thoughts on how these things might affect Stoops decision to go to Notre Dame. 1. He is Catholic. 2. It’s closer to Youngstown. 3. Falling further behind in the recruiting war, not only to Texas but losing once guaranteed recruits to other schools, and TCU is making a stronger statement with recruits in the DFW metroplex. 4. He can recruit successfully anywhere in the country from Notre Dame. 5. Tired of reading/hearing about all the negativity on the call-in shows, papers, blogs (although no guarantee it would not happen elsewhere, but he would be king for at least one season). 6. He did not say ‘hell no’ but made reference to the fact that there is not even a job open at Notre Dame.”
OK. I’ll bite. 1. Bob doesn’t strike me as a devout Catholic. He certainly didn’t grow up a big Notre Dame fan. Married a Methodist. 2. Closer to Youngstown is a detriment to the chances. He wants no part of living in the North. He can fly a private jet to Youngstown any time he wants. 3. OU is losing no recruits to TCU. This Johnny Appleseed mentality is really puzzling. 4. Notre Dame’s recruiting prowess is vastly overstated. 5. Stoops does not worry himself — or even bother with — the radio or the internet. And Notre Dame would be 100 times worse. 6. You just asked him if he still beats his wife.
Jim: “I agree, no way Stoops goes to Notre Dame. Two quick thoughts. First, send Joe Castiglione to Notre Dame. Run, Forrest (er, Joe), run! I’ll help load the truck! Second, OU is not Memphis, San Diego State or Oregon (or even Arkansas). Leave the damn uniforms alone. Alabama, USC and even Texas don’t screw with tradition (the main reason to send Forrest/Joe to Notre Dame). We shouldn’t either. The new uniform reeks of the enormously stupid interlocking OU of the ‘80s. It deserves the same fate: the waste heap of (non) history.”
I don’t like the uniforms, either. But Joe C. is an excellent athletic director, and the surest way to make Stoops want to leave is to get rid of Castiglione.
Will: “I have no idea if Notre Dame is going to hire Stoops, Kelly, Johnson, Patterson or perhaps even Gruden or Meyer (who knows). What is clear is that Weis is clearly not Notre Dame’s man to achieve what we strive to achieve at Notre Dame. And that the Notre Dame administration needs to put in the work to find whoever they can to get the job done right. If Stoops is deemed to be that guy, they need to move heaven and earth to get him. Your article is weak, your reasoning is specious. Notre Dame has as much if not more tradition than OU. Furthermore, Stoops’ comments on Notre Dame strike me as diversionary, not a denial. Did he say that should the job become available he would not accept it? Did he say he would be happy to stay in Norman? He’s a smart man, he knows what’s going on. I wouldn’t be shocked if maybe Stoops believes that A) it’s time to move on, B) he might want to try to be named among the greats like Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian and Holtz. It’s true that Stoops attained his own level of excellence, but there is nothing quite like becoming a legend at Notre Dame.”
Can we just be blunt about Notre Dame? It’s a fabulous tradition. It’s got a chance to win and win big. But when you rank college football’s 15 best programs, based not on 2009 teams but best chances for success in the next 15 years, the Irish probably don’t make the cut. Heck, let’s do it. Alabama, Florida, LSU in the SEC. I would put Georgia there, too. OU and Texas. That’s six. USC and Oregon. Eight. Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan (yes, Michigan. A far better job than Notre Dame). That’s 11. Florida State. Twelve. So then you toss the Irish in with schools like Nebraska, Tennessee, Miami, West Virginia, Virginia Tech. Toss them all in a hat and pull out a name. Yes, Notre Dame packs a bigger recruiting punch than most. It also has other issues that drag it down. Like its location. South Bend is not a good college town. It’s not a good town at all. Notre Dame is about the 14th or 15th best job in college football. Like I said, It’s a .583 job.
Gary: “Another thing that I don’t know that a lot of people have thought about is why would a coach take a job where he is only going to be able to win so many games at that school before they get rid of ya? Look at how many wins Holtz had there (100) and they got rid of him before he broke Rockne’s record number of wins (105). Holtz was bought out before he outdid Rockne in number of wins and they’d do the same to Bob.”
I’ve never heard that story, but it’s a wonderful theory. I love crazy conspiracy theories. I never believe them, but I love to hear them.
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