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Notre Dame Tue, Jan 01, 2019
I don't have a favorite college football team, but one thing I always do is root against Notre Dame. 

I've never liked that they don't put players' names on their jerseys.  It feels unnecessarily old-fashioned, and even though I get that they're trying to emphasize the whole "team game" feel, it misses the mark.  Penn State does this too, and I think it's stupid.  Good teams, especially in systems with talent imbalances (i.e. some players are average while others are extremely talented), are built around good talent.  Masking that behind a tradition is facile. 

Then there's the whole "independent" thing.  College football rules and regulations are rife with exceptions for colleges that don't belong to a major conference.  This is code for Notre Dame, which has been a historically exceptional team.  So bowl game entrance criteria is often stipulated as "the winner of X conference, and Notre Dame if they were good this year."  This idea has passed its period of usefulness.  Notre Dame is no longer the powerhouse it once was.  This was yet again confirmed by their recent stomping by Clemson in a playoff game.  By not being in a major conference, they aren't facing the level of competition that Alabama or Ohio State are facing.  And sure, all teams have a few (or a bunch of) cupcake games on their schedules.  But by being independent, even Notre Dame's non-cupcake games are of questionable value.  Plus, they don't play a conference championship game, which affects their eligibility for the playoffs in an unfair way. 

Finally, there's the whole "private Catholic school" thing.  As a product of the public school system, I naturally developed a dislike for my local private Catholic school.  They came off as elitist, and they literally were elite because they charged tuition and enticed talented athletes to attend.  Notre Dame feels like the pinnacle of this ideal.  When the players introduce themselves at the beginning of some NFL games by saying which college they went to, the Notre Dame grads seem to have a sneer on their faces.  You'll hear "Michigan ... Georgia ... Notre Dame".  Like honestly dude, your team was good in the 1960s.  It's time to move on. #sports


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