The following is an open letter to Mark Lazarus and Dick Ebersol of NBC Sports asking them to seize a Ducky opportunity to immediately increase the ratings for the network’s desultory college football coverage.

Thank you for allowing me to present to you a plan to revive NBC’s underperforming college football coverage in the face of superior programming offered by ABC/ESPN, CBS and Fox Sports Network.

I do not take this responsibility lightly as my recommendations may result in my swift-and-certain excommunication from the Catholic Church by Pope Pius XVI. Lou Holtz and Beano Cook may never speak to me again; guess that is the chance that I have to take. The center piece of my plan is for NBC to fully exploit the 2015 expiration of its exclusive agreement to broadcast Notre Dame’s home games to the dwindling numbers that are still interested.

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You have to admit that you are underwhelmed by Notre Dame now and during the course of the last two decades. This year, the Golden Domers lost to South Florida (Quick: Where is South Florida located? Hint: It is not in south Florida). Last week, they played Wake Forest (wake me please). This week it is the fighting turtles of Maryland and then comes…gasp…2-7 Boston College.

Who scheduled these cupcakes? The answer is the same independent athletic department that slated Connecticut, Syracuse, Navy and Tulsa (all Notre Dame losses) in the past few years.

Let me be frank with my metaphors: Notre Dame is football’s version of Lawrence Welk. In place of Notre Dame, NBC needs to televise the home games of a team that is closer to the Foo Fighters, the Oregon Ducks.

Hang with me here. It is time for West-of-the-Hudson-River thinking. The Ducks are #6 in both polls; Notre Dame once again is unranked. Since 1994, the Ducks are 155-64; Notre Dame is 128-87. Oregon is 6-9 in bowls including playing in the BCS National Championship game, two Rose Bowls, and one Fiesta Bowl. Notre Dame is 2-9 riding a two-game win streak in the Sun and Hawaii Bowls (excuse me my blood is flowing northward).

Chip Kelly is 30-5 in his nearly three years as coach, including 17 straight wins in the Pac-12, and 21 straight at Autzen Stadium. Once again, your competitor’s “ESPN Game Day” is hyping Oregon’s game this Saturday against Stanford, making the third time this calendar year alone that Oregon has been the focus of a Game Day broadcast. When was the last time Notre Dame has been the subject of Game Day? I don’t remember either.

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Certainly you have to be concerned about losing the broadcast rights to Notre Dame’s every-other-year home game against USC (the Greatest Intersectional Rivalry in College Football). Really? Notre Dame is 1-9 against USC in the last 10 and 4-12 since 1994. If Notre Dame/USC was a fight, it would have been stopped in the second round.

In contrast, Oregon is 8-5 against USC during this stretch including winning the last two and three out-of-the last four. Which stadium and team does USC fear more? Notre Dame Stadium and the “Fighting” Irish or Autzen Stadium and the Oregon Ducks? It isn’t even close. The Trojans can still hear the ringing in their collective ears the last time they visited the friendly confines of Autzen.

According to Jeff Sagarin’s ratings in USA Today, Oregon would be favored by nearly 18 points over Notre Dame at Autzen and eight points in South Bend, Indiana. This is not a new development. Oregon has been outcoaching, outrecruiting, outplaying and outmarketing Notre Dame for years.

Most of all Oregon doesn’t need cute little shamrocks on its helmets; it boldly changes its Nike uniforms anytime it wants. Oregon plays in a conference, the Pacific 12 conference. Alas, Notre Dame does not have a conference. Oregon has rivalries against the hated Washington Huskies (eight straight…hee, hee) and an annual Civil War against Oregon Agricultural College (e.g. The Jetsons vs. the Flintstones or culture vs. agriculture). This year will be the 115th meeting between the liberal arts university and the agrarian land-grant school.

The Oregon coolness factor, recent Heisman Trophy candidates (Joey Harrington, Dennis Dixon and LaMichael James), possible additional ad revenue from Uncle Phil, and a whole host of intriguing intangibles all point to NBC making a bold move, dumping Notre Dame when the network’s contract expires with the university that is yesterday’s news. You may want to contact Oregon AD Rob Mullens before ABC/ESPN, Fox, CBS or any other rival preempts your network…again.

Next year, Versus will become the NBC Sports Network. Cable is the perfect venue for Notre Dame’s future home games against Bethune Cookman, Vassar and the University of Phoenix. If you wish to discuss further, I will be the guy in the upper deck of Stanford Stadium Saturday night. I won’t know the score of the Notre Dame/Maryland game…neither will anyone else.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt11.htm?loc=interstitialskip

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