Revisiting the UConn-Notre Dame Football Series

TouchdownJesusIt was exactly 15 months ago today that I first wrote about the football series between UConn and Notre Dame.  The title of the article was “How Far Should UConn Go to Play in the House that Rockne Built?”  And that very same issue persists today – with no games to be played in Connecticut, is UConn giving up too much to play the Fighting Irish?

In the aftermath of April’s NFL Draft, in which 4 UConn players were chosen in the first 2 rounds, there is some sentiment that UConn football has arrived.  UConn doesn’t need Notre Dame for recruiting, exposure or anything else.  If Rutgers tells Notre Dame that it won’t play “home games” in the Meadowlands, so should UConn.   Notre Dame football is simply trading on its mystique, not performance, so why would UConn bend over backwards to accommodate the Fighting Irish?

This sentiment is simply mistaken.  Although I’d love to see Notre Dame play at the Rent, the series makes perfect sense for UConn.  Although the perception may be that UConn is weak for accommodating Notre Dame’s demands, the perception is irrelevant.  What’s important is the reality.  The reality is that UConn will receive unmatched exposure and benefits from the series.  Here are 2 reasons that UConn needs to sign the Notre Dame deal:

Unbeatable Mystique, Beatable Football Team

It has been suggested that UConn would be better off playing Top 25 teams than a fading Notre Dame team.  I disagree.  UConn gains little by playing Top 25 teams and getting trounced.  But Notre Dame carries the mystique of a Top 25 team, an unmatched TV deal with NBC, and best of all – is completely beatable.  I’ll take a UConn win on national TV to boost recruiting rather than having USC crush the Huskies.

Also, the reality is that Notre Dame  from a football standpoint is on par with, or an upgrade over, UConn’s 2008 non-conference opponents:  Hofstra, Temple, Virginia, Baylor and North Carolina.   From a recruiting and exposure perspective these teams are no match for Notre Dame.

Playing Under the Golden Dome

NotreDamehelmetNotre Dame’s mystique is bigger than its recent on-field success.  But why is that so important?  The fact that we’re talking about UConn football right now, proves that the Notre Dame series will advance the UConn football program.  In fact, I’ve never heard so much talk about UConn football in an off-season.  The first topic of conversation when Huskies’ football comes up is inevitably – are you going to South Bend in November?

Like it or not, Notre Dame is viewed differently by the public and possesses unique leverage in scheduling opponents.  When asked to describe the mystique of Notre Dame, Lou Holtz once replied:

If you were there, no explanation is necessary.  If you weren’t, no explanation is satisfactory.

Comments

  1. First, the article is full of misleading info about Rutgers. Second, it doesn’t shock me that anything connected to Uconn football has to bash Rutgers in order to feel good about the Huskies’ program. Rutgers/ND deal had little to do with Uconn/ND deal. Stop using Rutgers as a measuring stick to justify Uconn’s success on and off the field. Does Uconn lack the merits to stand on it’s own two feet? It appears in this article Uconn really can’t justify the deal, so the writer throws Rutgers out there to create smoke and confuse the readers of the truth… Uconn got screwed by ND. Even the Connecticut Politicians have questioned the deal, so the AD has yet to signed the agreement. If it was such a great deal (and exposure) for Uconn, why hasn’t the AD close the deal? It says a lot about the Uconn football that they still have to pimp themselves to reach the next level. Good thing the politicians are smart enough to speak up about how one sided the deal is and it’s not in the best interest of Uconn to go through with it. What will the excuse be if the deal falls apart? Will it be Rutgers fault? I would expect more facts and less opinions from a site like this.

  2. You don’t have a clue. If UConn is better than Rutgers, then why has Rutgers won 3 of the last 4? Why does Rutgers win more games?

    Learn the facts. Schiano didn’t have any clause in his contract about the stadium. It was a complete fabrication published by the Star-Ledger.

  3. Sports Law reporting rumors instead of facts, just to justify UConn playing in NJ as a home game.
    Give any Sports Law opinion you want, but don’t put misinformation as a fact.

    Greg Schiano never had a secrete clause in his contract giving him the ability of walking away without penalty.
    The New Star Ledger accused Rutgers and Schiano of having one, then backed off following up that allegation by them in print.
    The Newark Star Ledger scrutinized everything they could about Schiano, the Rutgers AD at the time (Robert Mulcahy) and every action taken by Rutgers .

    The fact is the Star Ledger didn’t find any secrete deal , while having all the paperwork dealing with Schiano’s contractand never said a word about a so-called secrete deal again.
    Their main find was reporting about the Nelligan deal with Schiano.
    Which they made a big issue of, but only after knowing about it for over 2 years.
    That deal was published in their paper by one of their columnist 2 years earlier.

    Now you are bring up that misinformation to try and prove your point.
    Why don’t you explained why the original deal between UConn and Notre Dame was for 10 years,now its down to 6 and still not signed.
    You should say why that deal was reduced and not even finalized with less games.

    Maybe you should rethink if it is a good one for UConn and why its being held up instead being a fact.
    It should have been a fact if it was so great and the original number of games not reduced.
    Tell us what kind of revenue sharing UConn and Notre Dame agreed to?
    I’m sure that’s out in the open!

  4. LBusDoor90 says:

    It is truly amazing that almost a full year later that supposed credible writers refer to that Schiano clause despite the fact that it was publicly and officially shown to have been discussed but never put into place AT SCHIANO’S REQUEST because he had faith the expansion would happen (see current stadium status). Perhaps this is the biggest weakness of the Internet – bombard people with garbage often enough that they believe its true because it outshouts the truth.

  5. “After all, isn’t UConn a better football program than Rutgers?”
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha

    yeah, you guys pound us every year!

  6. Oh, wait. My bad, you don’t…

  7. robinpa says:

    Wow what a surprise…..Rutgers fans whining about something. Do you preople troll every site on the net looking for anything said about Rutgers you don’t like? You’re everywhere. Take it from a Dcotor, it’s a sure sign of feeling insecure.

  8. I’m sorry, “Dcotor,” your Dcotorate must not be in English, since you cannot differentiate mocking from whining. Furthermore, for someone who professes to be a practitioner of the legal profession, Counselor Fitzgerald lays out a completely unfounded argument supported only by personal ruminations. He opines at length without a single supporting documented fact. There is only one fact in this post- to wit: “UConn gains little by playing Top 25 teams and getting trounced,” an admission that U-Conn does not belong in the top 25 in the Counselor’s eyes. Yet he dares make the unsupported claim that U-Conn’s program is better than a Rutgers program that has beaten a top 25 team each of the last three seasons, and can boast three straight bowl wins, two against BCS teams.

  9. Furthermore, this entire tack is a disgrace to the entire conference. I root for our conference brethren when we are not playing each other. Rutgers turning down the Notre Dame deal was as much about standing up for our conference and making sure we didn’t sign away home game TV revenue and so forth that would normally be shared by all eight football playing schools so Notre Dame and NBC could line their pockets at our expense. U-Conn apparently hasn’t been able to decide whether they should have that same respect.

  10. Dan Fitzgerald says:

    Thanks for reading and for your comments.

    A point of clarification: I didn’t intend to state that UConn was a better football program, I merely pointed out that after the NFL Draft the prevailing attitude is that UConn has already arrived:

    “In the aftermath of April’s NFL Draft, in which 4 UConn players were chosen in the first 2 rounds, there is some sentiment that UConn football has arrived. UConn doesn’t need Notre Dame for recruiting, exposure or anything else. If Rutgers tells Notre Dame that it won’t play “home games” in the Meadowlands, so should UConn. After all, isn’t UConn a better football program than Rutgers? Notre Dame football is simply trading on its mystique, not performance, so why would UConn bend over backwards to accommodate the Fighting Irish?

    This sentiment is simply mistaken.”

    This paragraph is intended to explore the reasoning that UConn doesn’t need to play Notre Dame. Some have said that UConn should skip ND and start playing top 25 teams, which I think is too big of a jump. As to which is a better program, I don’t know. Time will tell.

    One last thing – this post primarily consists of my opinions. It’s not a legal brief, so I didn’t support it with facts. I write this blog because I love sports and the business and legal aspects of sports, not necessarily to craft unassailable legal arguments.

  11. thanks for the weak clarification Dan…are u really a lawyer or a 12 yr old kid playing on Mommy’s computer?…you should change the name of your blog to “Sports Crap”…

  12. Wow – you Rutgers fans have more issues then I thought. This is only college football being discussed – nothing more. I Googled to try and find out if I was traveling to Notre Dame this yr to see Uconn and Notre Dame play. Some of you seem to be harboring disappointments from the past. Lighten up..I personally am against playing ND as a home game outside of CT but if we the school decides otherwise I will still attend.

  13. Ага, автор сайта молодец! Пишите еще!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] No Secret Clause for Rutgers, Schiano In my previous post entitled “Revisiting the UConn-Notre Dame Series” I referred to an earlier post that I had written about coaching contracts, and cited reports [...]

  2. [...] if it involved playing home games outside of Rentschler Stadium, as does the yet to be finalized Notre Dame series: The Huskies were open to that deal as long as Michigan was willing to travel to East Hartford and [...]

  3. [...] if it involved playing home games outside of Rentschler Stadium, as does the yet to be finalized Notre Dame series: The Huskies were open to that deal as long as Michigan was willing to travel to East Hartford and [...]

  4. [...] that the Michigan series has been committed to paper, is Notre Dame still worth the trouble?   Vote [...]

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