You're gonna hear a lot about Notre Dame over the next month or so, particularly from media types like Tony Kornheiser who have spent the past 20 years holding back a collective tidal wave of jism, waiting for the program to return to prominence so that they can declare how good it is for college football that Notre Dame is good again. The idea that Notre Dame serves as an EKG monitor for the overall health of college football is a lie, of course. Notre Dame has sucked for decades, while college football has been growing and thriving (and will finally realize its full potential in 2014 when a national playoff begins) over the same span. Whether or not the Irish stumble their way through a handful of wins against shitty service academies to find themselves in the national title game has nothing to do with it.
Because the truth is that Notre Dame is the college football team for people who don't like college football. They're a novelty, a program designed to capture the attention of casual casual casual casual college football fans—New York-media types who believe that something is relevant only when they've deigned to pay attention to it. These are the people who say they're rooting for Notre Dame because "they're a great story," which is what you say when you're a front-running douchebag.
For the Notre Dame enthusiasts, the massive, rabid fanbases littering the SEC may as well not exist. Those schools are a provincial matter. The success and regional popularity of teams like Alabama are a constant to be taken for granted, but Notre Dame being good is something SPECIAL, something far more meaningful than your routine LSU national title. That's an SEC school, right? Where are they located? Bob Costas totally forgot.
This is why I've hated Notre Dame for years and years and years. I fucking loathe them, even though I have no business loathing them. I've never set foot on campus. I've never been personally assaulted by a Notre Dame player (though there's still time). I have friends who went to that school who I like. But still... FUCK THEM. I hate Notre Dame for the exact same reasons I hate Tim Tebow. It's an underperforming football entity with an irritating tribal gloss of holiness, which gets far too much acclaim and adulation when it happens to succeed. The Fighting Irish belong with the Red Sox, the Yankees, Twilight, Taylor Swift, and any other property that is artificially relevant because the media wastes so much fucking time telling you how relevant they are.
And now here is Notre Dame in the BCS title game, finally fulfilling the hype-driven prophecy. It's the kind of thing that gets you cheering for Nick Saban, and Nick Saban is pure shit.
So with that in mind, it's time to whip out the haterade and say terrible, awful things about all things Notre Dame related. For this Hater's Guide, we're going A to Z, McKenna style. Feel free to add your own vitriol in the comments. Now let's get to hatin'!
ACC: Notre Dame is too chickenshit to join a real conference and relinquish its 37 scheduled games against Air Force every year. So it's worked out this bizarre fuck-buddy relationship with the ACC, where it will get credit for being in a second-tier "BCS" conference while still maintaining its stranglehold over Tom Hammonds's affections. Now this undefeated season will give them even more leverage, because the ACC has no self-esteem.
Boston College: AHAHAHAHAHAHA
Catholicism: No football program wears its religion on its sleeve more than Notre Dame. Even BYU isn't obnoxious enough to have Jesus overlooking the end zone. It's that kind of "we're more special than you" attitude that makes me hope that Satan will one day crawl out of the Earth's mantle and raze the entire Notre Dame campus with a single crack of his fire lash.
Davie, Bob: The worst thing about Bob Davie is the fact that shitting the bed for five years at Notre Dame was apparently enough of a resume for ESPN to hire him to work horrible second-tier Saturday afternoon games for a full decade afterwards. If you were watching Purdue vs. Indiana, you didn't need a graphic to let you know that you were in for three hours of Pam Ward and Bob Davie. Listening to Bob Davie is like listening to a running vacuum.
End Zones: Paint your goddamn name in the end zones already. You look like you're playing on a middle school field with those stupid lines. You're a multimillion-dollar football industry. You're not fooling me into believing you're some simple country program just by skimping on end zone paint. YOUR HELMETS ARE MADE OF GOLD, DICKBAGS.
Florida State: Remember when Florida State lost to Notre Dame but still ended up playing for the title anyway while Notre Dame got shut out? That was great. I miss the era of poll-related screwjobs, when all it took were a few embittered SIDs to deny a team a chance to play for anything significant. The best part is that Notre Dame got stuck in the Cotton Bowl that year, and the Cotton Bowl isn't even the most important football game played in the Cotton Bowl.
Golden Tate: There isn't a more annoying player in pro football right now. It's like someone dressed up a Cameron Crazy and let him play football. He celebrates touchdowns like he's a fucking eighth grader.
Holtz, Lou: It says a lot about your program when Lou Holtz—a man who can barely speak English and looks like a small-town pharmacist—is one of the greatest coaches in your history. I can't even imagine the amount of dark money boosters needed to raise under the table in order to prop up Lou Holtz. Lou Holtz makes Barry Switzer look like Dwight Eisenhower. I will never forgive ESPN for the Dr. Lou segments. "Remember, the good Lord put eyes in the front of your head and not in the back, so that you can see where you're going instead of where you've been." Oh thanks, Dr. Lou! What other wisdom have you gained from reading slogans off of coffee mugs?
Ismail, Rocket: Remember when he spurned the NFL for the CFL? Finally, the CFL will be able to compete with the NFL! Watch out, Paul Tagliabue!
Jimmy Clausen: "I look forward to meeting my future teammates this afternoon and work on doing everything I can to help us win National Championships. Thank you."
I will never get tired of Notre Dame recruiting asshole quarterbacks and then watching them fail miserably.
Knute Rockne: Every Notre Dame game, they show footage of that old speech by Rockne, as if you're supposed to bow down in awe before a surly old man talking like he's in the middle of a Jimmy Cagney movie. "And then we're gonna go on offense, see! And then we're gonna go inside 'em, see! Yeah!" Every time they show that speech, all I want to do is rob a train. Oh, and Rockne was a shameless self-promoter whose Gipper speech was complete bullshit, and who once skipped out on coaching a Notre Dame game to cover the Army-Navy game.
Leahy, Frank: He had his player fake injuries. That's bullshit.
Mike Golic: God, he sucks. Someone from Notre Dame could invent flight boots and it still wouldn't make up for sending Mike Golic out into the world. Mike Golic is ESPN's way of presenting sports as an "According to Jim" episode.
NDNation.com: By all means, head over to Rock's House and observe Notre Dame fans in their native habitat:
I find it ironic that ND wastes so much media bandwidth with those stupid service commercials. Really? That is the most important and noteworthy thing about the University of Notre Dame? We have students and professors who volunteer? Wow, that really makes us special!... What ND should be doing, is reinforcing that we have the top undergraduate and graduate programs in the country. Our programs are second to none. That we instill ethics and Catholic spirituality into all students, to produce the leaders of tomorrow who balance success with giving back. We should be talking about the Notre Dame family.
For full effect, please print this diatribe out and recite on a nearby putting green.
Old: If you root for Notre Dame, you are fucking old. There is an entire generation of children that has grown up without Notre Dame having won anything useful. I promise you that the name Notre Dame does nothing for them. They don't get magical goose bumps every time you mention Rockne or the Gipper or show them a picture of Notre Dame Stadium, which is a shitty, horrible stadium. Rooting for Notre Dame means you are probably the sort of person who got misty when they decided to make Newsweek all digital. You were probably laid off by a newspaper at some point.
Powlus, Ron: The man who was Jimmy Clausen before Jimmy Clausen was Jimmy Clausen. There's no more hilarious failure in college football history. My favorite Ron Powlus story was this one, from the late Darrell Russell:
We were 6-0 coming into a game at South Bend, and we're getting killed, 38-10, and this fool Powlus is continuing to talk trash: 'This is our house. This is our house!' I said, 'Ron, don't say another word to me. Just don't!' Well, he kept yapping away, and the next play we hit him so hard we split his chin. He comes back on the field all bandaged up. He didn't say another word all game.
By the way, Powlus is now the QB coach at Kansas, where he works under Charlie Weis. I hope Weis brings in Clausen as his quality control coach just to make the shitpile complete.
Quinn, Brady: I have still not gotten a proper explanation for why Brady Quinn likes patting cocks.
Rudy: Goddamn that movie for making me root for Notre Dame for three seconds. And the worst part is that Joe Montana said they carried Rudy off the field as a practical joke. YOUR INSPIRATION IS COUNTERFEIT, YOU LITTLE BASTARD.
By the way, I've said it before and I'll say it again: In real life, people like Rudy are really fucking annoying. No one wants to hang out with the annoying kid who treats Friday practice like it's World War III. I bet Rudy shouts at teammates during pickup basketball games all the time. There is a time and place for unbridled intensity, you annoying little whippersnapper.
Southern Cal: I hate this rivalry. I hate all Notre Dame rivalries because Notre Dame has tricked itself into believing that every game it plays is a rivalry game when all of their opponents have ACTUAL rivals that matter more. Stanford has Cal. Michigan has Ohio State. USC has UCLA. Notre Dame has a half-rivalry with every goddamn program in the universe. It means nothing.
Theismann, Joe: He was Joe THEEZ-man when he arrived at South Bend. He changed the pronunciation of his own name because the sports publicity department told him to, so it would rhyme with "Heisman," which he never won. Listening to Joe Theismann talk makes my balls hurt. And the worst part is that I live in the DC area, which means I can't get away from him. They put him in everything here: commercials, social events, Skins preseason games. He's like Old Bay. I can't stand it. I wish his leg had been broken WHILE playing for Notre Dame.
Uncharged: Oh hey, remember when that one unnamed Notre Dame player allegedly
raped sexually assaulted a girl, had a friend text her a veiled threat not to mess with Notre Dame football, and then the girl committed suicide? He'll be playing for a national championship. So that's heartwarming. Play like a champion that day, unknown assailant!
Victory March: Barf.
Weis, Charlie: The great thing about Charlie Weis's tenure is how much both the school and its fans adored him that first season, a season that was deemed memorable because the Irish managed to not beat USC. ZOMG HE'S FROM JERSEY! JUST LIKE HALF OF OUR STUDENTS! And he talks so gruffly! That kind of straight talk appeals directly to my faux-Midwestern plainspoken values! Weis' 10-year, multimillion dollar extension remains one of the dumbest contracts in sports. I hope they give Brian Kelly a $50 million extension and then watch him lose 30 of his next 40 games.
X: Honestly, screw the letter X. Every time I have to do some A-to-Z thing, X comes along to absolutely ruin me. To accommodate X, you have to either deliberately misspell something ("X-ceptional") or highlight the X in the middle of some other word. X blows. I'm tired of making concessions to it. It is the Notre Dame of letters.
Yankees fans: If you meet someone who loves both Notre Dame and the Yankees, DESTROY THEM. It's legal.
Zero: The number of points Notre Dame will score on Alabama in January. This token appearance in one of the final BCS title games will not be good for college football. It will only be good for people trying to navigate 2012 off a 1987 map. Soon college football will be moving on from its antiquated bowl system, and Notre Dame is a talisman of that system. They are a memory few people want to relive. Notre Dame is a lie. They're the Donald Trump of football teams, a gaudy program that has a elephant-sized blind spot to its own wretched taste. I hope they and their Dick Van Patten-looking asshole coach lose by 70 points and never sniff the national title again. Eat shit, Notre Dame.