The disrespect for the Notre Dame football program is all around us and it won’t stop until the Irish program does something about it. It didn’t happen because people don’t like the Golden Dome or because they are jealous or because Notre Dame is elitist or for any other reason. These may be reasons to dislike Notre Dame, but the disrespect comes from the same place that respect for other programs comes from.
It was earned.
Notre Dame is a 17.5-point underdog to Ohio State because the program Brian Kelly, Charlie Weiss, Ty Willingham and Bob Davey created rarely if ever appear in these types of big moment games. The last time Kelly led his team on the road for a game against a Big Ten opponent, they were destroyed by a score of 45-14.
We all remember Miami’s 2017 debacle and the ACC title game against Clemson, Kelly’s two College Football Playoff appearances, the BCS title game. In those games — all against teams that were ranked in the Top 10 at the time — the Irish lost by an average score of 35.6 to 9.8.
That’s why Notre Dame is a 17.5-point underdog to Ohio State.
here’s what Marcus Freeman was hired to fix. Ireland’s first-time head coach is tasked with turning a program that has mastered the art of beating weaker opponents into one that can challenge… and beat… the best teams in the country .
Like the great one Lou Holtz once said, respect is earned. This is especially true of Notre Dame. There are reasons some might dislike Notre Dame a little more than other programs, but Holtz’s teams have done something about it. You could hate Notre Dame all you wanted, but you had to respect them. Why? Because not only did they punch you in the mouth (usually it was figurative), they beat you on the field and they beat you on the scoreboard.
From 1988 to 1993, Holtz and Notre Dame went 24-8-1 against opponents who finished ranked in the Top 25. That included an absurd 14-5-1 mark against opponents who DID finish ranked in the Top 10. After six years of Holtz and Notre Dame won 14 games against opponents finished in the Top 10. Kelly did that just three times in 12 seasons.
In 11 seasons at Notre Dame, a Holtz-led team won 21 games in games against teams that were ranked in the Top 10 at the time of the games. In 12 seasons at Notre Dame, a Kelly-led team won those games just four times, and twice the Top 10 team they beat finished the season unranked (Michigan State 2012, Stanford 2018).
Davey and Willingham combined for as many wins in eight combined seasons over Top 10 teams at the time the game was played as Kelly had in 12 years.
Hence the disrespect. It was earned. It was won over decades of Notre Dame largely looking uncompetitive in those big games.
If Notre Dame wants respect, it must earn it. He’ll get that chance again Saturday night when the teams travel to No. 2 Ohio State. The Irish will get another shot at that on Nov. 5 when No. 4 Clemson comes to town, and if USC is as good as the media thinks they will be, the Irish will get another shot at being a top team when the season ends in late November.
Scroll to Continue
The opportunity is there for Freeman to change the direction of the program, to return Notre Dame to its former glory. It won’t come with high-profile recruiting classes and impassioned speeches. It will come from what happens on the scoreboard.
Freeman arrived for that purpose. He hired coaches for this purpose. The preparation for this season was with this goal in mind. Now the Notre Dame team under Freeman, the offensive coordinator Tommy Reesdefense coordinator Al Golden and the rest of the Irish coaches and players get their chance to be the team that not only gets that opportunity to silence the doubters, but they take that opportunity and announce to the college football world that this is, in fact, your Grandpa Dame’s Notre Dame.
Be sure to check out the Irish Breakdown message board, Champions Lounge
Irish breakdown content
Notre Dame 2022 roster
Notre Dame 2022 schedule
Notre Dame Class of 2023 Large Chalkboard
Notre Dame 2023 commits a board foul
Notre Dame 2023 Hiring Board – Defense
Notre Dame Scholarship Offers 2023
Notre Dame Scholarship Offers 2024
2022 Signing Rankings – Offense
2022 Signee Rankings – Defense
Become a premium member of Irish Breakdown, which gives you access to all our premium content and our premium message board! Click the link below for more.
BECOME A MEMBER
Remember to stay locked in Irish Breakdown at all times!
Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown YouTube channel
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes
Follow me on Twitter: @CoachD178
Follow me on Gettr: @IrishBreakdown
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook
Sign up for the FREE Irish Breakdown daily newsletter