Wednesday, October 18, 2006

USC Bye Week: The Domer Hype Machine

We’ve always known the Domers live in their own reality. Like a clichéd movie trailer that starts out “In a world …” the ND Nation has created an alternate universe inside their own minds. Sort of like a Seinfeld Bizarro World.

If you don’t believe me, spend a few minutes with a Domer alum, or even an east coast “subway alumus” who’s never been to South Bend. Trust me, you’ll get an ear full of it.

They’ll tell you how the school is actually an Ivy League institution stuck in the midwest. You’ll hear that the football program has never compromised ethics or academic standards to get athletic talent on the field. They’ll rationalize ND priests asking God for an ND win, while cheering for “Irish” players with names like Raghib Ismail to do their Lord’s work.

In fact, if you talk to them long enough they’ll let it all out: “Notre Dame is God’s Team. That’s why they win so much.” Being from USC – an institution that understands the freedom of a non-denominational education – we find this kind of thinking limited, if not repressive.

However, this stuff has served the Domers well over the years. They have a national base of followers who share their belief in ND football. And, perhaps more to the hypocritical point, the Domers make it a priority to field a premier football team, which earns their institution millions of dollars from NBC and a special spot in the BCS.

For sure, this collective “Domer Mind” works well for their believers, allowing ND faithful to take liberties with the truth in order to motivate their masses and perpetuate the “reality” of their Bizarro World.

An example of Bizarro logic in action is a piece on ugla written by one Steve Wozniak, who unlike the Apple Computer co-founder of the same name, takes it upon himself to fuel the Domer hype machine as a Staff Writer for the South Bend Tribune. Wozniak wrote:
Chuck D of Public Enemy may have said it best: Don't believe the hype.

Or at least the hype surrounding this year's UCLA defense. When the Bruins march into South Bend this weekend for their matchup with Notre Dame, there will be much hullabaloo about how UCLA has rebuilt itself into a Pac-10 power by playing defense …
What? Yes, it’s Bizarro enough for a guy named Wozniak to be referencing Chuck D … but since when is ugla a defensive Pac-10 power? Not even bruins nation could come up with that.
Well, that's the hype. And now for the reason not to believe much of it: UCLA's schedule.

The Bruins registered four impressive victories this year over Rice, Utah, Stanford and Arizona. Not exactly a murderers row. Rice ranks 92nd in the country in offense, Utah 80th, Stanford 115th and Arizona 111th. If West Virginia's perfect record is tainted by its lackluster competition, so too must be the accolades being bestowed on UCLA's defense.

UCLA has faced two decent offenses, losing to 59th-ranked Washington, 29-19, and last Saturday to Oregon, the seventh best offense in the nation, by another 10-point margin, 30-20.

So is the defense really that good, or is it just a case of stat-padding against inferior foes? That will become clearer when the Bruins run into Notre Dame's offense, which is still ranked only 34th now, but has been clicking more and more since the embarrassment that was the Michigan game.
Again … what? Maybe Wozniak is just a bad journalist (obviously), but the thought process here is astounding. He creates "hullabaloo" where there is none, only to reassure ND Nation that they shouldn’t believe the hype … which he made up in the first place.

As we’ve observed, the mind is a powerful thing. But, the collective Domer Mind is flat out scary.

No comments: