Did Notre Dame bail on bowl game for fear of getting embarrassed?

Hey, I get it – it’s been a rough year in South Bend. The team was yet again a disappointment, expectations weren’t met and the head coach was fired after months/years of speculation that he would eventually be kicked to the curb.

But if you’re Notre Dame, why not accept a bid to go to a bowl game this year?

On Friday, ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick said that the school has decided against going to a bowl game with a 6-6 record, citing that without a head coach and offensive coordinator, the school wouldn’t have an experienced play caller for the game. Swarbrick also pointed out that the school would likely have lost money because their only option would have been a minor bowl.

The offensive coordinator excuse is logical, but the bit about losing money holds little water given how much loot Notre Dame just threw at Charlie Weis to get the hell out of town.

That said, one would think that the Irish seniors would want to strap it up for one last game together and try to go out as winners. If it were up to the players, I would have to assume that they would want to play – especially players like Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, both of whom might be heading for the NFL draft in April.

So what’s the real reason Swarbrick decided against a bowl?

How about fear that the program would get beaten one last time before the year lets out. Chances are, if the Irish accepted a bowl bid they would have played a MAC team like Central Michigan, which, sorry Irish fans, is better team than Notre Dame is right now. Granted, it would be in CMU’s favor that ND wouldn’t have an experienced play caller for the game, but it would still make sense that Swarbrick wouldn’t the Irish to put a capper on their ’09 season by losing to a MAC team – any MAC team.

Maybe Swarbrick is making a smart decision and one based on the long-term good of the program. After all, if you know your team isn’t going to be at full strength, why risk injury to the players? And why not spend that time trying to find the right head coach instead of playing in a meaningless bowl game?

But to me, this decision wasn’t about money or a play caller or even about fear of players getting hurt. It was about Swarbrick not wanting his program to get embarrassed one last time before the calendar hit 2010. Why suffer any more abuse than you already have?

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