Voting With Their Checkbooks
When I got home, the caller ID said area code 574 with a 631 prefix. More often than not, that's someone calling from a campus office to scold me about something posted here or on NDN, so it was not without a certain amount of fatalism I dialed into voicemail.
Turns out it was the ND ticket office, calling for Mrs. Kabong. Preliminary lottery results, said they, showed she didn't get any of the games she put in for (meaning, as of now, nothing for Michigan or Stanford and my dad's friend will not get as many Navy tix as he was looking for). However, followed up they, the ticket lottery for Syracuse had resulted in tickets being left over, and she was welcome to put in for up to four tickets for that game.
Well well well. A crappy late-November game not selling out via the lottery. Quelle surprise.
This is what 7-4-1 hath wrought, kids. People are looking at $65 tickets for these "buy" games and saying, "Nuh uh". And if you think MAC schools or non-descript Mountain West opponents are going to draw any better to an ice-cold Notre Dame Stadium at the end of the season, think again.
(Yes, I realize this isn't a buy game, but the current quality of Syracuse is equivalent to the kind of school ND is looking for for these buy games)
No one demands every game be against a top-10 opponent, as some not-so-bright critics have alleged. No one demands every game be of top interest. But people do demand the overall quality of the schedule be proper, and if Syracuse is any indication, those demands are not being met.
I bring you again a typical 4-4-4 schedule:
Stanford (tier 3)
Michigan (tier 1)
at Michigan State (tier 2)
at Navy (tier 3)
UCLA (tier 1)
at GaTech (tier 2)
Purdue (tier 2)
UNC (tier 3)
at Penn State (tier 1)
Air Force (tier 2)
vs Army (Orlando) (tier 3)
at USC (tier 1)
For those of you a little slow on the uptake, that's the 2006 schedule slightly rearranged. Quality games scattered throughout the season, two at home, two on the road. Not a lot of home games at the end of the season when it's crappy out. And gee, I think ND did pretty well against that slate, don't you?
As disappointing as the announcement regarding the NBC renewal (and its apparent codification of 7-4-1) was, it's not too late to fix it. And it needs to be fixed.
By the way, the conversation that ensued when I passed the phone message along to my wife:
SHE -- When is the Syracuse game?
ME -- November 22nd
SHE -- To hell with that.
I wish I could marry her all over again.