Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Other Catholic School

As we creep toward the BCS National Championship game, just about everyone has finished their slate of poorly sponsored insignificant bowl games.

Well, almost everyone has played poorly sponsored insignificant bowl games. Sometimes you get to go to a big one, like, say, the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La. Don't get me wrong, I think one of those two teams definitely deserved to be there, and it showed in the score that was posted last night, as LSU demolished Indiana Catholic University by nearly 30 points.

ICU's now holds a collegiate record of 9 straight bowl losses, dating back to 1994. Some 80-plus teams have won bowl games in that time. It is truly a testament to another bowl streak shared by the other Catholic School, who has now won 7 straight bowl games. It shows that ND is always going to be picked up for a bowl game that's better than they should be in, and get shellacked (average margin of defeat is in the 20s for those games). BC gets passed over and plays a team below them. And the answer, of course, is financial. And it proves that BC fans need to start traveling and do what they must.

But, that's not what bothers me this morning.

My prediction is what bothers me: Notre Dame, at 10-3, will finish the season ranked around 15. BC, at 10-3, will finish the season ranked around 20.

Average margin of defeat in those three games: BC, 4.0; ND, 24.3.

I am aware that the three teams ICU lost to are basically going to finish the season ranked #3, #4 and #5. But, of the ten wins ND had, five of them were against teams that finished in bowls. Four of those teams (GaTech, Navy, Purdue and UCLA) lost their bowl game. Only Penn State has a chance that it will finish ranked, and likely at #25 if at all. BC's opponents finished with a 4-2 record in bowl games (Wake lost in the Orange Bowl to Big East champ Louisville while VaTech lost to Georgia in the Peach).

How does ND respond? Well, next year is not going to be a good year for the Irish. 18, 18, Seniors are leaving, including golden boy/pretty boy Brady Quinn. The reins of the team will go to either a freshman or someone else of whom we haven't heard.

They'll still get 7 or 8 wins. It helps when you play every service academy except the Coast Guard, plus Temple and Stanford.

It also helps when you stop playing teams who beat you. A few years ago, the powers of the Dome shortened a 7 year contract that ran through 2012 with BC to four years, with the 2010 game in South Bend marking the last time the only two 1-A Catholic Schools would play each other.

Reports also are saying that ICU has shortened the contract again. BC will travel to South Bend this October and ND will travel to Chestnut Hill in 2008 and then the battle for the Ireland Trophy will no longer exist. By the way, the all-time series is 9-7 in favor of South Bend. The best the series can end is .500

After that, the best we can hope for is a few bowl game invites in which ND is ranked high enough and we have an amazing season and play them in the Orange Bowl. At which point, we'd be that team who overmatches ND. And I can't wait.

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