Color Me Impressed

As I’m taking a hiatus, I thought CJC on Rock’s House did a nice job of summing up the thoughts of many around our new Athletic Director. Personally, I like the fact that he’s got a name out of a Clancy novel. In all seriousness, at the very least we’re not going to be Chester at the BCS bargaining table next time around.

Color Me Impressed by Jack Swarbrick’s resume and accomplishments.

But the piece of paper in which I’m most interested is not Swarbrick’s vitae, it’s the job description for Notre Dame’s athletic(s) director.

Once upon a time, numb from the disaster that was Michael Wadsworth, I took Kevin White’s hiring as a very encouraging sign. I reasoned that a man with such an impressive resume, currently holding a rather prestigious position at an institution seemingly with great potential, would be highly unlikely to take a position as a lackey to Malloy, as Wadsworth had done.

Obviously, I couldn’t have been more incorrect.

Swarbrick’s prerogatives will be constrained by his superiors, as had been the case at Notre Dame for at least 55 years. It seems that most here believe that’s a good thing, as calls here for complete autonomy for Notre Dame‘s athletic director are about as common as admonitions for Across and sprack to “get a room.”

The most important question remains in what ways the powers-that-be will constrain Swarbrick.

The second-most important question is how Swarbrick himself envisions Notre Dame football. While the immediate die is already cast, including the newly-extended NBC contract and its provision for seven home games in addition to a neutral-site prime-time game, the athletic(s) director has the opportunity and responsibility to be an internal advocate.

The saga of Gene Corrigan and Gerry Faust well illustrates the limitations upon the athletic director and the imperative that the athletic director be creative, decisive and effective notwithstanding those limitations.

When Corrigan was unable to convince Fr. Hesburgh and Fr. Joyce that retaining Gerry Faust beyond his third season was not in Notre Dame’s best interests, Corrigan made sure that when the opportunity to replace Faust did arise, he would be prepared to do so swiftly and effectively. Not only did Corrigan identify Holtz (not necessarily a big deal), but he suggested the out-clause in Holtz’s Minnesota contract (apparently at the suggestion of Moose Krause) and just as important, timely persuaded Fr. Hesburgh and Fr. Joyce to authorize Holtz’s hiring.

I choose to hope that in addition to his impressive record, Swarbrick does not believe that the football program and the entire University are best served by our current scheduling philosophy, and that he can bring his seemingly considerable talents to bear upon changing the thinking that is reflected by the NBC extension.

Phone calls to Stanford, Purdue and Michigan State in the next 60 days would go a long way toward convincing me that my dreams might come true. – CJC

In case you were wondering, Chester was the little dog who jumped around in the Looney Tunes Cartoon and said over and over again “hey spike we’re buddies ain’t we spike, we’re pals,ain’t we spike, huh, huh, huh?”

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15 Responses to “Color Me Impressed”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    It must be a generational thing, but I assumed that Chester was Marshall Dillon’s sidekick from Gunsmoke! He was a nice guy but only did what he was told.

  2. f f Says:

    I thought it was from The Weight by the Band. Yet another generation gap.

    Crazy Chester followed me, and he caught me in the fog.
    He said, “I will fix your rack, if you’ll take Jack, my dog.”
    I said, “Wait a minute, Chester, you know I’m a peaceful man.”
    He said, “That’s okay, boy, won’t you feed him when you can.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The schedule simply CANNOT be the first order of business in getting ND football back to what it was and should be.
    Remove mainstays like MSU (who we can’t beat anyhow, so why add a tougher team?), Purdue (our only in state rival), and Stanford from the schedule? Uhhhhh… why?
    Maybe he will. But that is not where he and Jenkins need to start work on repairing this program.
    Anyway, can you name one national champ that has won it by playing top 10 programs for 1/3 of their season? If our goal is a national title, we need to be realistic and put ourselves on the same playing field as everyone else. Making each and every game a world beating super match-up won’t benefit us. We already sell out every weekend. This isn’t playstation. There must be a happy medium between an entertaining schedule and a fair shot to compete for the title.
    Let’s just worry about not selling out / ruining what is and has been Notre Dame in the process. I know everyone here agrees on that much.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    “…an you name one national champ that has won it by playing top 10 programs for 1/3 of their season?”

    The 1988 National Champs, for one.

    ~gmb66

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Why remove mainstays MSU, Purdue and Stanford? Because they’re Tier II at best and don’t deserve to be on the schedule in perpetuity.

    If we’re going to have “mainstays” beside Navy and USC we might as well join a conference.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Rock Report needs time to reflect. Please — the schedule looks better and better as we gain flexibility. MSU and Purdue should be curtailed in favor or a better mix of opponents. The 7-4-1 will oneday be seen as both creative and worthy.

  7. tenict Says:

    Anon who posted at 12:11 PM:

    I agree with you, because what you are stating is the world of BCS reality.

    If we want our Irish to contend for the NC, we will not get there by playing nine or ten of the most difficult opponents in D1.

    That kind of a schedule will most likely see us with 2-4 losses each year, and it is highly unlikely we will play in the NC game.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    The first team Notre Dame should drop it the Stanford Game and replace it with a home and home every year with UCLA. Imagine Notre Dame playing every year in either LA or in Rose Bowl Stadium.And then having the Burins and Trojans come to Notre Dame every other year. It is a no-brainer. UCLA is a great school academicly wise and has a great student body and fan base. It would really help with recruiting in California and the west coast Irish Fans would fill up both venue’s. Stanford is a lose , lose Father Malloy ploy. Heck they don’t even care that much for their own Football Team. They hardly ever sell out.They recently made their own stadium smaller because no one cares about Stanford Football except Jim Harbaugh. If USC had beaten Stanford like they usually do last year instead of losing they might have playexd for the BSC Championship. They have to play them, we don’t. Once a decade they might compete for the PAC 10 Championship let alone a National Championship. (Not since the 1920’s)Stanford Band has also pulled more racist,bigoted, vulgar,insulting jabs at Notre Dame teams, Our Lord and Blessed Mother and our Heritiage and fans than the KKK.

    Beating Stanford does little to help Notre Dame. Losing to them just means we stink that year.

    It is a lose, lose. Bring on UCLA and also bring on UCLA in Basketball every year like the good old days of Moose Krause.

    “To be the best, play the best and beat the best and then give them a helping hand to get off the floor.”

    Thank goodness a real Fighting Irishman is taking over as AD.

    GOOOOOO IRISH !

  9. Anonymous Says:

    1988 isnt a very good example to scheduling top notch across the board.

    For starters it contained the three programs Rock is suggesting we remove. As well as Rice, AFA, Navy and Pitt.

    Seven teams that easily fit outside the top tier, yet most consider a brutal schedule because of the three other games that happened to show up. Michigan, USC and Miami. Short of Miami, who we could replace by say an Oklahoma in a future schedule, where is the disparity from then to now?

    I dont see it.

  10. Patrick Mikes Says:

    Anonymous:

    Marshall Dillon’s sidekick was Festus, not Chester.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    My suggestion on scheduling:

    1. Rather than dump Michigan State and Purdue, rotate them on the schedule in two on/two off fashion. Their roles on our schedule are basically duplicative anyway. We continue our tradition with them, but free up one slot on the schedule every year. Best of both worlds.

    2. I don’t hate Stanford the way some in here do. But I wouldn’t keep them on the schedule every year, either. What I’d like to see is a five-school rotation among western schools: Cal, UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford and Hawaii. All would be home-and-home except for Hawaii, where both games would be on the road, allowing us a 13th game in those seasons.

    4. Schedule the juggernauts who have expressed an interest in playing us. Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Miami come to mind. Nothing long-term with any of them, but a home-and-home with each (throw in a third game at a neutral site for Miami, which has expressed an interest in that game), juggle them around the Oklahoma series in upcoming seasons, and that way, you’ll have at least three games per season against marquee opponents for the next decade or so.

    4. Home-and-home series vs. Minnesota to include the dedication game of their new stadium. Season opener for both schools in both years. Move the Nevada game back a year or two to accommodate this.

    5. Dump 7-4-1 (may not be feasible with the new NBC deal).

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I’m surprised no one kicks around the idea of football scheduling two-for-one deals, like power programs sometimes do in basketball. Is this not feasible? Especially in meeting our three-game Big East commitment. And isn’t the three-game Big-East commitment a bigger deal than MSU, Purdue & Stanford? When ND made it, the thought must have been, “We play BC anyway,” and BC worked very well geographically. Now, not so much.

  13. Trying It Out Says:

    “Remove mainstays like MSU”

    There’s a specific reason the Irish won’t remove the Spartans from their schedule. There is a long history there. Honoring that history is what makes Notre Dame – Notre Dame.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    *I’m surprised no one kicks around the idea of football scheduling two-for-one deals, like power programs sometimes do in basketball. Is this not feasible? Especially in meeting our three-game Big East commitment.*

    We do have a two-for-one deal with Syracuse (this year is the final game of that series), so I suppose it could be done with most of the Big East schools. That being said, the only way I could see a two-for-one with Big East schools being a significant benefit for us is with respect to 7-4-1. We have something of an incentive to play on the road against any Big East program. Consider:

    * Cincinnati and Louisville are decent possibilities for “close to campus” road games should we need to play hardball with the Integer.

    * Road games vs. USF allow us a recruiting presence in Florida.

    * Pitt, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers are all located in or near areas with significant ND fan following. Pitt and Rutgers also are located in areas where ND needs to/should recruit well.

    * West Virginia is the closest thing to a true power in the Big East at present, and therefore would likely resent a two-for-one offer from ND.

    None of the other mainstays on the schedule are likely to agree to a two-for-one, except perhaps Navy, and a two-for-one probably wouldn’t fit with Navy’s place on our schedule. You could fill out the remainder of the schedule with tomato cans by means of two-for-one scheduling, but if that’s your goal, many of those schools would take a one-off. In fact, you probably could get a few respectable BCS-level programs to take a one-off with ND. Washington State, Oregon State, Texas Tech and possibly Oklahoma State come to mind as schools that likely would accept such a deal.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Put a better team on the field and the schedule won’t matter

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