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Weekend notes: Still reeling from Freekbass

I took yesterday off from the blog, because I was so befuddled by the new “We Are ND” video that I couldn’t form words. Just when you think you’re out of the woods from that ridiculous video of dancing Irish tailgaters, Notre Dame has to deal with the self-inflicted gun shot wound that is Freekbass and his sidekick, who looks just like Paul Dano. I know and respect the people behind the video, truly appreciate the ideas that were behind it, but man -- I don’t know how we can hide from this one.

* Moving on to even more enjoyable topics, the rumblings of conference realignment sound more and more real, and now it seems that the Big East -- or at least some of their football coaches -- are asking the conference to give Notre Dame an ultimatum: Get in for football or get out for your other sports.

That’s the gist of a juicy snippet from Marc Allard’s column in the Norwich Bulletin, where he noted that Randy Edsall has been asking the conference to deliver an ultimatum to the Irish to come into the football conference for the past two seasons.

“I think that’s something the powers that be are discussing in terms of the strategies that they’re looking at to be proactive rather than reactive,” Edsall said.

I wonder what Edsall would be saying if his name was hand-picked by Jack Swarbrick and not Brian Kelly to replace Charlie Weis as head coach. As much as the Big East has been good for Notre Dame’s other sports, there’s little chance something like this is going to happen, especially considering the economics of the situation.

* Jimmy Clausen’s arrival in Carolina was chronicled nicely by the AP’s Mark Cranston, who noted that Jimmy arrived in Charlotte with a 12-pack of Cactus Cooler, the favorite soda of star receiver Steve Smith. A smart move by a young quarterback who is trying to start things on the right foot after minicamp practice number one.

“I’m just trying to be one of the guys,” Clausen said. “Today was a good day, came out here and it was back to football. I had a good time, have a lot of learning to do and all the quarterbacks are helping me out. It’s going well.”

While Jimmy’s going to feel it in the wallet, landing at a team where the most experienced quarterback has started only eight NFL games couldn’t be better.

* Andy Staples, one of the very best guys covering college football for, made a great argument for thousands of college football fans to cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame.

From Staples:

If you believe eventual conference reorganization is the natural progression of rational actors acting rationally in a free market system, feel free to retain your current level of love or hate for the Fighting Irish. But if you fall into one of the following categories, you’d better begin to cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame.

• You don’t want to see the current conference alignment reshaped in a massive cash grab.

• Your alma mater is among the schools -- hello, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Louisville, South Florida -- that stand to lose big in the case of radical realignment.

Make no mistake, the Big Ten can expand without Notre Dame and still make a fortune. But if circumstances force Notre Dame to cast its lot with the league, the resulting union would make the Big Ten so powerful that the other conferences would be forced to grow. For his part, SEC commissioner Mike Slive essentially promised last week that his league would act to protect its status as a premier conference. The ensuing shift would result in an entirely new alignment of schools throughout the country.

That’s why the groups mentioned above should find the nearest Golden Domer and give him a hug. Notre Dame can stop the most radical realignment. In fact, that would be Notre Dame’s preference. We’ll let Professor Swarbrick, Notre Dame class of 1976, explain why football independence is so important to the folks in South Bend.

There may never be more pressure on a football program to perform than right now, and I’m guessing Jack Swarbrick has conveyed this to his new head football coach quite clearly. While Swarbrick’s comments last month on independence got many people riled up, he’s clearly staying out in front of all this, just as a man in charge of the well-being of all of Notre Dame’s athletics should be.

* After reading some comments from people who attended the annual Rockne Dinner, it sounds as if Notre Dame’s 7-4-1 scheduling paradigm might shift to a 6-5-1 model. This should help fill some still glaring holes in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 schedules, even if it means playing one less game at Notre Dame stadium.

If I’m a Notre Dame fan, I’d be far more excited about playing at Camp Randall -- even if it is a much tougher win -- than playing another opening game against a MAC team like Western Michigan.