Tag Archive: Beano Cook


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

“Right now, it’s difficult to find many good reasons why the heading coaching position at Oregon would not be attractive. The school does lack tradition, but the Ducks have averaged 8.4 wins per season since 1994.” – Athlon Sports, “Coaching Jobs from First to Worst.” http://www.athlonsports.com/college-football

Make that 8.5 wins per season for Oregon since 1994 with potentially three more this year.

Chip Kelly’s job as Oregon’s head coach (he is 19-3 in his nearly two years at the helm) is rated as the 15th best gig in all of college football. In contrast, Notre Dame is ranked as the 12th ranked coaching destination and the main reason is the “T” word for tradition. http://www.goducks.com/

“Notre Dame has three unique advantages compared to almost every school in the country – a national following, its own television contract (signed through 2015 with NBC) and an unparalleled history that includes 11 consensus national titles and seven Heisman Trophy winners.” http://www.und.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/061908aaa.html

Holy Touchdown Jesus and Number One Moses that is friggin’ impressive until you start pulling down the recent numbers. In fact, Notre Dame defies the Almost DailyBrett Law of College Football: Tradition is Now.

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Do I dare infuriate Lou Holtz and Beano Cook by speaking ill of Notre Dame?

Will I be excommunicated by Rome?

Let’s just let the numbers do the talking.

Number One Oregon (10-0) has consistently out competed unranked Notre Dame (6-5 including a loss at home to Tulsa) over a span of the last 17 years and there is no doubt the Ducks with Darron Thomas and LaMichael James running the spread offense would blow the Fighting Irish off the field this year. According to the Jeff Sagarin ratings for USA Today, Oregon would be favored by 25 points, if the game was played in Eugene, and 19 points, if the contest was played in South Bend. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt10.htm?loc=interstitialskip

But wait a minute…Notre Dame has won all these national titles…Quick when was the last time that Notre Dame was the best team in all the land (Hint, Reagan was president)? Wonder who is the number one team in the BCS rankings that came out tonight? Sorry Mr. Leprechaun, it is not you.

For the record, the last ND Heisman trophy winner was Tim Brown in 1987. Since that time, no member of the Irish has even sniffed the famous straight-arm. For Oregon, Joey Harrington and Dennis Dixon were serious candidates the last decade and James is expected to be at least invited as a finalist to the ceremony in New York in three weeks.

Let’s match up the two including this season in progress and going back to 1994:

Oregon is 145-62; Notre Dame is 120-84.

Oregon has been to 14 bowls and is 6-8 in these post-season contests (includes two Rose Bowls, one Fiesta Bowl, one Cotton Bowl and most likely either BCS championship game or the Rose Bowl this year). Notre Dame has been to 10 bowls and is 1-9 (interrupting a NCAA record nine straight bowl losses with a win in…the 2008 Hawaii Bowl).

Since 1994, Oregon has missed two bowls and recorded only one losing season. Notre Dame in this span has missed bowls six times and has recorded four losing seasons.

Oregon is on the cusp of winning its fourth outright Pac-10 title and fifth overall since 1994. The Ducks are second only to USC in Pac-10 titles, who dominated the conference from 2002 to 2008. Speaking of USC, who would the Trojans rather play, Notre Dame or Oregon? If you asked the Notre Dame and USC alums they would wax poetically about the “Greatest Intersectional Rivalry” in all the land. If you ask the USC players, they would grumble about the 100 points that Oregon has scored against them in the last two games.

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Since 1994 (they play this Saturday), Notre Dame has compiled a 4-11 record head-to-head against the Men of Troy, including losing the last eight. In contrast, Oregon is 8-5 against USC during this stretch including winning the last two and three out-of-the last four.

Using marketing speak, NBC’s Dick Ebersol described Notre Dame as the “most storied brand in college sports.” Really? Does that mean NBC will televise more ND losses to Connecticut, Navy and Tulsa for the benefit rapidly aging subway alumni, who fondly remember John Huarte and Paul Hornung? That is east of the Hudson River thinking that reflects the proverbial East Coast bias.

Let’s face it Notre Dame has a Little Napoleon complex as epitomized by their pint-size mascot and their relatively quiet stadium. Oregon in comparison offers college football’s loudest and most intimidating venue, Autzen Stadium, and the one-and-only triple-threat mascot, the Duck. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=maisel_ivan&page=iZone091028

Yes, the push-up champion Duck can go by land, sea and air…Let’s see the sham(rock) Leprechaun pull off that feat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ve92hOixGo

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