After losing to Boston College 17-0 last week, the only positive news about Charlie Weis and Notre Dame came from the Athletic Director with the deadly “vote of confidence.” I can’t remember the last time I heard so much negative press about Notre Dame, oh wait, last week! Charlie Weis is approaching the Tyrone Willingham range at Notre Dame and is approaching Bob Davie range.
As you read this post, I would like to like everyone know that I am a Notre Dame fan, but I am rational. My hometown is less than an hour away from South Bend and all my friends back home have been suicidal the last two seasons. I have lived in Columbus, OH the last three football seasons and it’s amazing to live in a city that could possibly be more insane about college football than Notre Dame fans, 9 out of 10 cars in this city have some sort of Brutus or Buckeye decal in the window or personalized license plate. I need to figure out why Notre Dame is so bad and try and debunk some of the “theories” why Notre Dame looks like a team full of Rudys. Here are some of the theories and my rebuttal.
Five-Star recruits go to colleges with warm weather. I do admit that this theory has some weight to it, but still not true. Elite players go to warmer weather to play in the SEC, Big 12, and USC. Notre Dame recruited Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate, and Michael Floyd, players that were highly-recruited and would garner playing time on many top 25 teams in the country. I’m not sure that warm weather is the only reason they choose those places, most likely reason is that they want to be on a winning and competitive program. I can also add that the weather in South Bend, IN and Columbus, OH are comparable and Ohio State still recruits a top-ten class every year. Columbus may be maybe five degrees warmer with a little less snow, but the city itself helps recruits players to OSU. South Bend wouldn’t exist of Notre Dame wasn’t there, it’s solely dependent on the university to maintain the city, the same cannot be said for Columbus, OH.
The schedule is too difficult at Notre Dame. Over the last few seasons, the schedule at Notre Dame has slowly looked more like a non-conference schedule at North Dakota St. If you add teams like North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, and Washington and you subtract games against Ohio State, Georgia Tech, BYU, and Penn State, you will win more games. Even if Notre Dame went 11-1 this season with their only loss coming against USC, they wouldn’t even be in the top 10 in the BCS with their weak schedule. You could argue that dumbing down the schedule at Notre Dame could hurt recruiting, since their not playing against the same caliber of teams as past Notre Dame squads.
Notre Dame needs a new coach. Really? You think you could get a better coach than Charlis Weis? I think Notre Dame fans have amnesia. The last two coaching searches held by Notre Dame came with about denials each and one coach who they canned after the press conference for a botched resume. No one wants to coach at Notre Dame. I’m sure they would try and go after Mike Leach, Jon Gruden (for the third time), Turner Gill, Bob Stoops, and maybe even Brady Hoke from Ball State, but would end up with the Offensive Coordinator at some SEC team that wouldn’t get any other coaching offers. I know whatever is going on at Notre Dame is broken, but starting all over again isn’t always the answer. I would give Coach Weis the rest of this season and the next, if things aren’t improved, I think he should be canned. An improvement would be a top 20 BCS ranking, not a BCS bowl game kind of an improvement like most Notre Dame fans would be looking for.
Here is my theory to help Notre Dame restore its former glory. Notre Dame needs to join a conference. The Big Ten would love to add Notre Dame, even though Notre Dame’s loyalty for all other sports would be Big East, but Big East football is barely above the Sun Belt in ability. Notre Dame lacks rivalries that help draw excitement. The USC rivalry is an historically great rivalry, but to be a rival, the games have to be competitive. The only competitive USC/Notre Dame the last ten years was the game that ended with “The Bush Push.” Notre Dame already plays Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue every year, but with Ohio State so close and with some great match-ups over the last twenty years between the schools, it could help create/restore a rivalry. Notre Dame have always seen itself as the “top dog” in college football and even has its own rules in the BCS when it comes to BCS bowl games, but it’s time to put its ego aside and do what’s best for the program.