Notre Dame is playing for a BCS title and that is OK
The nightmare scenario for many college football fans around the nation has come true. Notre Dame will play for a BCS national championship in January.
It may have taken a while but Notre Dame finally feels as though their approach to college football has been justified. Running an independent football program years after other big name programs decided the time was right to align with a conference has seen more than a fair share of criticism saying the life of an independent is not the way to go and by doing so actually leaves Notre Dame in the dust in terms of national relevance. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps this will be proven to be true, but this season Notre Dame made it work.
Returning to college football’s pedestal was a long and rough road at times for the Irish. Since last capturing national glory in South Bend in the 1988 season Notre Dame has made four coaching changes and even suffered through a 12-year drought without a single bowl victory, a stretch perhaps unimaginable since the Ara Parseghian era.
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Wisconsin looks for statement game vs undefeated Buckeyes
You would not think that two-time defending Big Ten champions would need to come up with a statement win in mid-November, having already clinched a spot in the Big Ten championship game weeks before the conclusion of the end of the season. Yet, this is exactly what the Wisconsin Badgers will look to do this weekend when they welcome Big Ten Leaders division rival, and undefeated, Ohio State.
Ohio State enters this weekend with a perfect 10-0 record, but due to NCAA sanctions are ineligible for postseason play. With Penn State also on probation the path to a return trip to Indianapolis for the Badgers was more like an express lane. Wisconsin has already clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game for a chance to defend their outright conference championship and guarantee a third consecutive trip to Pasadena to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.
But it is the Buckeyes that have ironically carried the conference banner this season for a Big Ten that has come up small on the national stage from week one. Ohio State is one of four undefeated teams left in the country, joined by No. 1 Oregon, No. 2 Kansas State and No. 3 Notre Dame. Because the Buckeyes are ineligible for postseason play they are not ranked in the BCS standings, but Ohio State is accepting of the position they currently sit in and are focused solely on the two final games of their 2012 season.
"You know, I could lie to you and say that I don’t," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said earlier this week when asked about caring about being one of the four undefeated teams in the country. "I’ll hear it and read it once in a while, and I have good friends in the profession that will make a comment, and I’ll think for a second. But then I go back to knowing exactly who we were, and you go back to how we’ve won and who we are right now, and we’re pretty fortunate where we are. Let’s find a way to get No. 11."
Meanwhile Wisconsin has struggled at times throughout the season, with a sluggish start of the season that was thought to ruin any chance running back Montee Ball had to make any runs for individual honors and perhaps see a trip to Rose Bowl elude them in a season that was their trip to lose.
Temple ready to return to Big East this weekend
This weekend Temple will mark their official return to the conference that once abandoned them. There will be no bitter feelings when the Owls host South Florida this weekend though. Instead this weekend will be an opportunity to feel proud about the program, despite entering the weekend with a losing record.
It is easy to criticize the Big East for being put in a position to have to welcome back Temple, but the fact of the matter is this is not the Temple program that was shown the door less than ten years ago. While Temple still has some steps to take before being considered a viable threat in the Big East and accomplishing feats few would expect Temple to be able to reach, this is a program that is understanding of what it takes now to compete at the highest level.
The biggest difference in Temple now and in 2004 is the resources. The program recently unveiled their renovated football building to the media, showing off a project that cost roughly $10 million to expand and update Edberg-Olson Hall. Addazio concedes that some programs around the country will still far exceed what his upstart program has been able to do with funding and facilities but he firmly believes that Temple is now able to compete more when it comes to recruiting with the facilities and services they have available.
"I think we have a state-of-the-art facility, right now, that can compete with anybody in the conference we are in," said Addazio.