A musing on the end of the Notre Dame series that never was

Are you listening? Because I think Notre Dame just scheduled Army again.

Are you listening? Because I think Notre Dame just scheduled Army again.

Like communism, the proposed 10-game 7-game football series between UConn and Notre Dame was a great idea in theory. And like communism, it just never worked out in practice, because either human nature is evil or Connecticut lawmakers are stubborn.

But so it is: according to numerous outlets, including the New Haven Register, the series is just about "dead."

So sayeth Chip Malafronte’s mysterious source:

"That deal is dead, as far as (UConn) is concerned," a source close to the negotiations told the Register Tuesday morning during Big East media day at the Hotel Viking. "With Michigan coming to Rentschler Field, the Notre Dame series is dead."

Surprisingly, among the denizens of UConn’s top message board over at Scout.com, all are not overjoyed at dropping the series with Notre Dame, which would have featured three games in South Bend (and a fourth game at ND this November which won’t be affected by this announcement) and three games split between East Rutherford and Foxboro.

Now, I make no secret about being a huge supporter of even this lopsided deal. Apologies if I'm repeating myself from the Michigan post, but I’m all about UConn scheduling for on-the-field respect and off-the-field attention.

Teams outside of the traditional South/Midwest/USC cabal have to make their name in college football by being creative. Get your name out there and then, when the eyeballs are there: win. It’s a simple formula for a fledgling program, in my eyes, and the Notre Dame series was a pretty excellent way of accomplishing the first half of that formula.

The drawbacks, of course, are that UConn fans have to travel to see their team in a "home" game, and would likely make up less than half of the crowd in New Jersey (if tickets were to be sold freely). Certainly, it may come off to some as small-time (although, tell that to Howard Schnellenberger or Bobby Bowden in the 1970’s).

The fact is, UConn football – at the ripe-old Division I age of eight – is still small-time. And as I mentioned here, it needs all the help and publicity it can get. And yes, I am willing to lie prostrate at the foot of Touchdown Jesus in order for UConn to get known. The benefits would have outweighed the risks.

But it’s all now moot, and the series looks to be canceled. Yet despite my appreciation for Notre Dame football, and UConn’s willingness to go along with the whole thing, I’m satisfied.

Because like the cute girl at the dance, some of the cute boys are asking us to dance. And they’re not stuck-up and prude. And somehow Randy Edsall is a DJ at this dance. I don’t know, it’s a complicated simile.

Playing home-and-homes with Michigan and Tennessee lessens – dare I say, eliminates? – the need to play 6 "road" games against the Irish. Those teams have some serious cache, and enough people will take notice of tiny UConn winning in the Big House or Neyland Stadium. (Ha!)

Once UConn’s administration found a way to bring in big-name teams to Rentschler Field, it made more sense to pursue deals that would put UConn on level footing. I still think playing ND in this six-game series would be a great boon; but why do that when there are, apparently, name-brand teams who are willing to come to Connecticut?

So while I won’t take any shots at Notre Dame – I’m looking at you, Mr. Jacobs. I’d still be happy if UConn play Notre Dame anywhere. But UConn just doesn’t need the series any more. And so, quite simply, they won’t play it.

IN OTHER NEWS: According to the Courant, UConn’s status as Running Back U. continued Wednesday, as both Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman were named to the Doak Walker Award watch list. The Doak, of course, honors the top running back in the nation, although its failure to honor Donald Brown last year renders it illegitimate. Illegitimate, I say!

AND FINALLY: Please take a look at Randy Edsall: Fashion King at Big East Media Day in Providence yesterday. And then go buy that Hawaiian shirt. It will look great on you, I promise.

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