For a while, I’ve been planning to write a long diatribe about how conferences, particularly within the BCS system, have sucked the soul out of college football. I’ll probably still do it, with nifty spreadsheets, an allusion to 80s Glam Rock that nobody saw coming, and verbosity not seen since another fish was described in Kon-Tiki, but that’ll have to wait for the off-season. For now, just read this bit from a chat with Paul Zeise of the Pitt Post-Gazette:
SDWC: Paul, your opinion on whether Stull plays against ND?
Paul Zeise: They’ve been very tight-lipped about this all week. He is practicing, but I will say this — my gut is I’d be surprised if he plays. I know they want to play him, but I would hope that two things (1) the kids health and (2) the fact that this is a non-conference game prevail in the minds of the coaches. If there is any question at all about his health — it makes no sense to play him this week. yes, you’d like to beat notre dame and all that — but you have four conference games coming up after Notre Dame and if you win them, you get to a BCS game. So this game is pretty meaningless to be honest. We’ll see though, but again, my gut so far is that they are going to error on the side of caution if push comes to shove.
This coming from a guy who covers a team that acted like beating ND in South Bend a few years ago was like curing cancer. But I see his point, and I can actually imagine Wanny and the Panthers having the exact same attitude about this game, “Dude! It’s ND, but we’ve got to stay healthy and ready for Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, and Connecticut!”
Think about that: Pitt can get to a BCS game (which, frankly, is meaningless unless it’s also the National Championship game) by losing to a 5-2 Irish squad and running that “gauntlet.” Unreal. It must absolutely suck to cheer for a conference-affiliated team. Half your games simply don’t matter in most seasons unless you’re worried about being in the running for a national championship. All that is wonderful about every week of the college football season for a Notre Dame fan is effectively cut in half for other fans. It’s like the self-pep-talk Michigan (sucks!) fans and players put on every time they lose to the Irish, “Our goal now is to win the Big Ten.” Wow! Your goal went from being the best team in the country to the best team out of 11 that can’t seem to figure out how to even hold a championship game! Yay for you! Do you hand out participation certificates at the end of every season too?