The short answer to this is, yes. This could be the shortest column ever, but my boss (me) would get mad if I didn’t flesh this out a little bit. So, let’s get started with a little bit of disclosure. I’m what many consider a Notre Dame fan, even though I haven’t attended a game there in several years. I went to the game between the Irish and Purdue in Indianapolis this year as a member of the media, and I was certainly critical of the Irish in their loss versus Alabama.To the main point, yeah, there’s probably some sort of unacknowledged conspiracy against Notre Dame, but I’m not sure who it starts with or how to end it. The main point here is one that I hear often when I talk to any number of people about Notre Dame.
You either love Notre Dame or you hate Notre Dame.
They’re as polar as the Yankees.
I think those two viewpoints pretty much sum up America’s feelings on Notre Dame. You could also apply this to Ohio State, Alabama, USC, and Texas. Or, your favorite school if ESPN says something bad or the referees make a call you don’t like. Here’s the thing, the controversial call on Saturday, by the book was right. I agree with the call, but I don’t like it. I don’t not like it because I’m a Notre Dame fan, but because it hasn’t been called by this crew of ACC officials all year. If they have, show me the game. You can’t, because it hasn’t. I’ve refereed more basketball games than you’ll ever watch in your life, so I obviously don’t hate referees, but if you as a fan are polar about Notre Dame, isn’t it foolish to expect game officials to not be polar as well? Right. They have their biases too. There’s no easy solution, and I’m not suggesting this crew is for or against Notre Dame or Florida State for that matter. But, and there’s probably some statistic somewhere that shows to be true, between multiple sports over multiple years, that home teams tend to get more calls in their favor. Why? Some say the crowd, some say the fact that officials have to return to those sites many times during the year, some say this and some say that. Again, I don't know, but i know it's probably true. Home teams tend to win more. Hence the term "home field advantage." Solution? There isn’t one. You can’t give every official an exam to see if they’re for or against one team or another. Catholic’s love Notre Dame for obvious reasons and non-Catholics generally don’t love Notre Dame. Everyone wanted Notre Dame to join a conference, so they did. Sort of. Now you’re mad because they aren’t all the way in. That’s a legitimate complaint. Are the officials mad they aren’t all the way in? Maybe, but probably not. I’m playing devil’s advocate here, because to suggest there’s a “conspiracy” there has to be a reason. Isn’t college football better when Notre Dame is good? You hate they have NBC all to themselves, easy solution – don’t watch. The only problem there is when the ratings come out, we’re ALL watching Notre Dame. At 3:30 or 8:30, there they are. They’re almost always on national television while you’re school probably spends half the season on BTN, ESPN3 or the Longhorn Network. The conspiracy that we have should be relabeled “jealousy.” We’re jealous that our team doesn’t have its own network, that it can’t pick and choose which conference we go in. So, the easiest solution for us as fans is to rail against them in all cases. And when shittastic calls are made like the one on Saturday in Tallahassee, we rejoice and praise, but get stupid angry if that calls goes against our team. It’s called Fandom. Replace the word “conspiracy” with “jealousy” and that’s what a lot of people have against Notre Dame. Accept it, and live with it. It’s not bad, it’s human nature.