Frankly, Fenway and Notre Dame are just what UConn needs

Full disclosure: Until a few days ago, there weren't two things in sports more nauseating than Notre Dame and Fenway Park.

Unless it was Notre Dame IN Fenway Park.

But now? Times they are a changin. And we pause 10 seconds for station identification while I warm up for my big audition. OK. Here goes:

? Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame ? wake the echoes cheering her name ? send a volley cheer on high ?

And you thought I couldn't get past humming a few bars.

Desperate times, and all that. Plus, the Irish just gave the football program at old State U a jolt it desperately needed.

Don't know if you've noticed. But UConn football has all the buzz of Maxwell House Decaf at the moment. Empty seats abound at Rentschler Field. Vanilla coach. Nameless, faceless players, mostly. Doubt the masses will be huddled around the TV Saturday - mostly because it's not on TV - when UConn and Western Michigan renew the rivalry.

Which is why news of a potential UConn-Notre Dame game at Fenway Park in 2014 made the needle move a bit during the day Tuesday.

That's good news.

Yours truly heard about the potential game at Fenway from a well-placed spy on campus last week. With some help from a pal at the Boston Globe and another campus espionage agent, we know this much: nothing definite, but Fenway wants it, UConn wants it and Notre Dame, whose coach was all for it on Tuesday, hasn't yet scheduled an off-campus home game for 2014.

Do the math.

When this happens, UConn will have at least two sexy games for the next two seasons, beginning with Michigan's trip to Rentschler next year. That counts. Because it piques interest. And the program is in need of more interest.

Maybe the best detail of all is that this would be Notre Dame's home game, thus liberating us from more prattle over whether UConn should play home games outside of Rentschler Field. This just in: UConn should play games that resonate. Anywhere. It's time practicality replaced provincialism.

Besides, UConn-Notre Dame at Fenway makes a UConn game one of the hottest tickets in sports that week. UConn makes national headlines for playing the self-appointed mythological giant of college football in an iconic ballpark. Sometimes, it's all about the venue. Nothing against Northwestern or Illinois, but do you think ESPN would have cared so much about that game in 2010 were it not played at Wrigley Field?

Fans of both schools can also chuckle at the varying conniption levels from the Boston College people. Speaking as a BC guy, let me just suggest this: It's time to back up the truck and purge a leaderless, rudderless mess in the athletic department. I mean, there's going to be a UConn-Notre Dame football game at Fenway Park in 2014.

Now for the hilarious part: Fenway Sports Management serves as the "global sports marketing and sales arm" of the Fenway Sports Group of which BC is a member.

So let's see: BC is a client of the Fenway marketing arm. And the two schools BC despises most will be playing ... at Fenway?

Hello? As Bruce Springsteen (whose son, ironically, goes to BC) once asked: Is there anybody alive out there?

Meanwhile, bully for UConn. This shows some innovation. This will make people watch. Across the country, sure. But most importantly, in our state.

I've heard all the reasons UConn football hasn't captured the state's fancy. Maybe they're all true. But if you can't get excited about game day ? tailgating, friends, fun, the game ? you have no pulse. Zero. Corpse. I don't care if football isn't "ingrained in our culture." The saddest walk in sports is the media guy who can't participate heading to the football press box past thousands of tailgaters making merry.

Ah, but now Connecticut sports fans cannot afford to keep their heads buried. First, Michigan. Then Notre Dame. At Fenway, no less. Can't wait.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.


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