Let me get this out of the way before the game is played tonight: I HATE NOTRE DAME!!
It would just so happen my beloved Wisconsin Badgers would have to play the non-Big Ten team that I despise the most in the NCAA Tournament. As I filled out my bracket, I stared at this matchup in the Sweet Sixteen for at least half an hour. When I make my picks, I try to disregard the "name on the front of the jerseys" and take a look at who is the better team. And on paper, Notre Dame is the better team--especially on offense. But the thought of picking the Fighting Irish over the Badgers made me want to vomit. It took all of my inner strength to click on Notre Dame's little circle in the on-line bracket contests to move them along to the Elite Eight.
I cannot remember a time that I did not hate Notre Dame. I was a Michigan Football fan as a kid--and Notre Dame was always one of the biggest games of the year. Many a Wolverines season was ruined by a loss to an inferior Irish team that always seemed to find some "magic" in South Bend.
Tony Kornheiser on ESPN likes to call Notre Dame the "University of Football in America". I think Tony forgot one word in that title. It should be the "University of OVER-RATED Football in America". No school gets by on reputation more than the Irish. They haven't had a legitimate shot at the National Championship since the early 1990's under Lou Holtz. Since then, it's been nothing but a parade of teams that start the season in the Top Ten (because it is Notre Dame afterall) and who inevitably lose a couple of games--sometimes not even finishing in the top 25.
And they really haven't won anything in any other sports. They have made it to the Final Four just once in their entire history. The greatest moment in Notre Dame basketball is beating UCLA and Bill Walton to snap the Bruins' 88-game winning streak in 1974. Digger Phelps parlayed that one win into a lifetime contract at the school and a post-coaching career as an ESPN analyst.
What really gets my goat is that Notre Dame acts like it is the greatest thing in college athletics. They have rebuffed the Big Ten repeatedly when it has offered membership. Instead, the school has chosen weaker conferences like the Big East and the Atlantic Coast Conference because they don't require Notre Dame to play a football conference schedule. You know, "Notre Dame has to play a national schedule to appeal to its national fan base." They also went out and negotiated a TV contract with the fools at NBC--so that they would not have share revenues with any other school. And they even had their own deal with the old Bowl Championship Series to be included the former BCS games--even if they didn't warrant it.
By the way, Rudy is among the cheesiest, and stupidest movies ever made. Even Joe Montana--WHO WAS ON THAT TEAM--says its a load of crap.
To make matters worse, I've got Notre Dame alums in my family. A cousin and his wife both attended Notre Dame Law School. Again, it takes all of my inner strength not to write "THE DOMERS SUCK!!" on their holiday cards every year.
So there I will be tonight, seething in my recliner watching my Badgers take on the hated Irish. You may not want to talk to me for a week if Wisconsin loses.