Thursday, October 15, 2009

#57: Confusion About Cheering for Rivals

One of the defining parts of Notre Dame Culture is the devotion that students have to following the football team.  Students will spend hours reading message boards, they will intently listen to press conferences, they will drive and fly to away games at every end of the country, and they will cheer for the team through thick and thin.

Because of this devotion, Notre Dame Students also closely follow the games of other teams on the schedule so that they know more about their opponents and have a way to gauge how good the Irish team actually is compared to other teams around the country.  However, Notre Dame Students also have a difficult time watching these games because they are confused about what team to support.

The Notre Dame Football program has many rivals.  Some are friendly rivalries like Navy and Stanford (aside from their band).  Others are bitter rivalries like Boston College and Michigan State.  There are rivalries that are relatively new (Michigan) and old (Penn State) and some even have cool names like Catholics vs. Convicts (Miami).  However, no rivalry game is as important or as anticipated as the games against hated arch-rival USC. 

While Notre Dame Students undeniably hate the teams from these schools, they are incredibly confused about what team to root for when they watch their rivals play other games.  One might think that Notre Dame Students would root against teams like USC and Michigan at all costs because of the rivalries, but this is oftentimes not the way Notre Dame Students watch games.

In fact, many students actually root for USC and Michigan to win the rest of the games on their schedule.  These students want their rivals to win every other game so that Notre Dame’s wins against them look better to pundits.  Many students will vocally root for USC to win every game of the season just so they are undefeated when they play Notre Dame.  “If we’re going to beat USC, I want them to be the best team in the country,” Notre Dame Students will say.  While this logic makes sense in some ways, as the students are hoping that they serve as witness to history, in other ways this logic is completely insane.

Notre Dame Students should hate USC at all costs.  They should root for their players to ___________________*.  While they can secretly hope that USC is highly regarded when Notre Dame plays them, they should never root for the Trojans (or any other rival) to win under any circumstances because it is utterly impossible to hate a team and cheer for them at the same time. 

*joke omitted because it would have been classless and USC-like


  1. How is Michigan a new rival? How is Stanford even a rival?

    Rooting for opponents is the smart thing to do because strength of schedule is important in the BCS polls.

  2. Yeah, agreed, how can Michigan be considered a new rival? They were our first opponent (to whom we unfortunately lost) during our first game in 1887.