“It always starts and it always ends,” said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, “at the quarterback position.”
If it were only that simple. The focus, everyone, isn’t on the quarterback position. It’s not about Tommy Rees or Andrew Hendrix or freshman phenom Gunner Kiel.
It’s about Notre Dame, the program. And where the Irish fit in the rapidly changing world that is college football.
Late next month, the BCS commissioners and the sport’s television partners will meet in South Florida to continue hammering out drastic change to the postseason. The Plus One playoff—four teams, three games, one national champion—is the preferred model for many administrators.
The key to Notre Dame’s success—to the program’s survival—is what comes with the Plus One. There is a big push among administrators in both the BCS and non-BCS leagues to eliminate the automatic qualifier status for BCS bowls.
And here’s where it gets dicey: If the FBS presidents don’t also approve the elimination of standards to qualify for a BCS bowl (see: specific number of wins, BCS ranking), Notre Dame will continue to fall further from relevance outside its huge NBC television contract.