Typically, when someone takes the hottest of hot takes on Notre Dame Football, it is for clicks/eyeballs to a publication. On occasion, we are ever so blessed to witness a coach release such a take. If we are incredibly lucky, the coach that decides to open their big mouth will also be one that really hasn’t accomplished much in his career.
/prays for easy offseason blog fodder
Gary Pinkel said no independents in @CFBPlayoff. “Give Notre Dame year to join a league. They don’t have independents in NFL"
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 20, 2015
/points to the sky and gives thanks
For those that aren’t aware, Gary Pinkel is the head coach of the Missouri Tigers. You may recognize the Tigers from their previous two SEC Conference Championship appearances in 2014 and 2013. They are ever so fortunate to find themselves placed in the much weaker SEC East, despite being further west than practically every school in the SEC West. However, I can only assume the SEC wanted Missouri to feel like they were at home after moving from the Big XII North, the far weaker division in the Big XII whom they took advantage of in 2007, 2008, and 2010.
That isn’t to say every team in those divisions are/were terrible, but the path to a conference title and a BCS Bowl was certainly a much easier path than say, fellow former Big XII member Texas A&M. So, really it should be no surprise that Pinkel wishes to continue to walk this easier path with the new college football playoffs. Sure Missouri could just go undefeated (never been done in the Pinkel era) or focus on winning a conference title (also never been done in the Pinkel era) and make their case then, but throwing Notre Dame in the mix makes a lot more sense.
Now, I could spend a whole post comparing Notre Dame to Missouri. I could point out that since Missouri joined the SEC they are 1-10 against opponents that finished the season .500 or better (h/t). I could mention that, last season, they lost to Indiana, a team that finished 4-8, at home. I could point out that Missouri will play less power five schools than ND will this season (h/t) in a schedule that will also feature the FCS.
However, that isn’t the standard that Pinkel has laid out before us. He is looking to the NFL for guidance in this argument. So let’s take a look at what else isn’t in the NFL:
- A head coach with…well, Pinkel’s resume: If there is one constant in the NFL, it’s that there is zero patience for coaches that don’t deliver. Immediately. Below .500 three times in your first four years combined with zero BCS/playoff berths in a 14-year tenure? He would’ve been fired three or four times by now.
- The ability to schedule a minor league team to boost your wins: Okay, I lied, I’m going to mention this again. The NFL can’t schedule a non-NFL team yet FBS schools regularly schedule an FCS opponent to pad their wins. In fact, the NFL regulates the entire schedule. Kiss your out-of-conference flexibility goodbye.
- Recruiting: While we are doing the whole the conference requirement thing, let’s institute a high school draft.
- Scholarship/transfer rules: Name a NFL player worth their salt that will willingly stay on a team that only offers them one-year deals. Now name a player that would ever negotiate a contract that states that, if they leave, they have to sit out a year or do down to a minor league team.
- A selection committee: The college football playoffs are done by committee. The NFL found a way for wins and losses to be the only thing that matters. Weird. And before you say “yes, but division winners get in”…
- A conference/division championship requirement to qualify for the playoffs: The NFL has this crazy thing where, if don’t win your division, but win more games than all the other teams that didn’t win their division, you make the playoffs. They call this a wildcard team. Six of these teams have even won a Super Bowl. It’s like the NFL believes that teams that win a lot of games should have a chance at the playoffs. Weird.
- Teams that would willingly make their overall situation worse: Want to know the reason why Notre Dame is still independent? Because they can be. Yeah, yeah, tradition, Michigan keeping us out of the Western Conference and all that, but if other schools weren’t lining up to schedule a home-and-home against ND, it wouldn’t happen. If ND joined a conference, the scheduling flexibility that allows for this to be a thing dies and ND watches their power as a national brand suffer. ND doesn’t need forced conference affiliation for marquee games and revenue. If other college teams could do this, they would. If an NFL team had a sweet deal like this, in a league driven completely by profit, the commissioner would make a damn rule to allow such a situation to stay in place.
So what have we learned today? Using the NFL as your guiding light for a terrible argument is about the dumbest thing that you could possibly do.