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Head Football Coach Lou Holtz

Philosophies on Polls/Playoff

  • Preseason Rankings: "Anytime you see one of these preseason magazines, you always see Notre Dame ranked in the top 20 because it sells magazines. If we're any good, they put us in the top three. If they think we're going to be decent, we're in the top six. If they think we have a chance to be pretty good, we're in the top 10. If they don't think we're going to be very good, we're in the top 15. And if they think we're going to be horrendous, we're somewhere between 15 and 20."
  • Being Number One: "I've got to be honest with you-I like being number one. I like being up there. I like being in the spotlight. I like to turn on the television and see people list Notre Dame and talk about big games. But you aren't going to be there every time. I never mention it to the players. I never talk about being number one. We'd sure like to be, because it's a special feeling. Once you've been there, you don't like it if you aren't there. The best way I can put it is like this-you wake up one day and you are number one. You don't become number one; it sort of happens. If you sit around and think about being number one, it doesn't happen."
  • A College Playoff: "Before I came to Notre Dame I was probably one of the strongest proponents for a playoff system. Whether you take the top two, four, eight or 16...just some type of playoff system. I felt you should always have a championship determined on the field, and I could see no reason for not doing that. But that does not make it the right fit for the athletes. I say that after being at Notre Dame and seeing the academic schedules our players have. I can't imagine players at Notre Dame being involved in a playoff system that involved games every weekend in December, when you consider the final exam schedule here and the academic pressure involved."
  • Handling the Top Spot: "When we became number one for the first time in 1988, it was ultra-important how we handled that sort of success. So I called the NCAA to ask them what being number one meant. I told the players that our touchdowns only counted six points, not seven. We still had to go 10 yards for a first down, not eight or nine. If we fumbled, we didn't get the ball back. They told me there were no real differences to being number one, other than getting asked about it all the time. As long as we understood we were still the same team and we still had to do the same things in practice and in games, we were fine."