Christmas Eve isn’t much of a sports hotbed this year. The only game on in all four major sports is the Hawaii Bowl. This year’s Hawaii Bowl is getting a lot more attention than the usual match-up since Notre Dame is traveling to Hawaii to take on the Hawaii Warriors in essentially a home game for the islands. No matter the outcome of the game, Notre Dame football will be headed in a new direction.
If Notre Dame wins the game, they will finally erase the stigma of have a 15-year winless bowl game streak. A win against Hawaii would help Notre Dame escape back-to-back losing seasons and 7-6 would actually seem like a nice season overall for this young Irish team. A win to cap off the season will help rejuvenate the rabid Irish fanbase and give them some juice going into the off-season. They haven’t felt good ending a season since Raghib Ismail and Rick Mirer wore the golden helmets.
If Notre Dame loses, Weis’s seat will get hotter, I know he has gotten the thumbs up from the athletic director, but a beating by Hawaii could change his mind. It could put a damper on recruiting and the overall feel of Notre Dame going into next season. If Jimmy Clausen has a bad game, you have to think that they will look for an open competition going into spring. He will be a junior and needs to keep getting better, since Weis’s offense relies heavily on the quarterback. Dayne Crist could be a decent option if they grow sour of Clausen.
If Notre Dame hopes to win this game, Clausen will have to protect the ball and get the ball into the hands of his receivers. Notre Dame’s receivers are quite elusive in the open field. Golden Tate and Michael Floyd need huge games for them to beat the Warriors.
The Hawaii Bowl line started out with Hawaii favored by two points, but as of today, the line moved and now the Irish is favored by two. I do think the Irish will win this game, but if Hawaii scores more than 24 points, the Irish probably won’t be able to keep up. The score needs to be low and Clausen can’t throw more than one interception. Let’s hope that Weis doesn’t shoot himself in the leg and start going deep early in the first quarter.