In the wake of the humiliating 17-0 defeat at the hands of Boston College on Saturday night lies a Notre Dame football program with so much promise but little performance. Despite Notre Dame playing an incredibly weak schedule and returning over 80% of their starters from a disastrous 2007 campaign the Fighting Irish now sit at 5-4 with a best case scenario of finishing 7-5. They are not going to beat USC again and they have a good chance of losing to Navy this week...again. As much as it pains me to write that last sentence it's the truth. Notre Dame football has become average at best.
Charlie Weis is now 1-15 in his last 16 games against teams with winning records. Supporters of Charlie, whom I admit was one of the blue and gold blinders leading the bandwagon, wanted to say two of the reasons they lose or underperform on Saturdays are because of inexperience and youth. These are great excuses when they were facts last season but this year is different. The Fighting Irish have plenty of players with tons of gameday experience now so it's no longer a valid argument. Players like Jimmy Clausen, Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, James Aldridge, Duval Kamara, Golden Tate, and the whole offensive line got tons of actual playing time the past two seasons to qualify as seasoned veterans. And pretty much every defensive starter played last season significant minutes so why do they lose to teams like Boston College, North Carolina, Pitt, and Michigan State when one can make the argument they are less talented and sit in the same boat with maybe more inexperienced players playing?
Watching this team slowly go down the shitter has been painful needless to say. I see a ton of talent in players like Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, Kyle Rudolph, Jimmy Clausen, David Bruton, Kyle McCarthy, Brian Smith, Raeshon McNeil, and numerous others but I continue to see a team that totally shits the bed on Saturdays. There are no more excuses to struggle to squeeze out a close home win over a horrible San Diego State team. There are no more excuses to blow leads against Stanford, North Carolina, and Pitt which cost you victories in two of those games. Excuses are like assholes and everyone has one including Charlie's enormous one.
Before the Boston College game I stated that this particular game would be the defining moment in Charlie Weis career at Notre Dame. Win and they have a good shot of going 8-4 into a decent bowl game(which hasn't been won in 15 years) and the recruiting will continue to go beyond my wildest expectations into a 2009 season with a lot of promise. Lose and they will continue to have little confidence in themselves to beat teams with winning records and the magical dream seasons of 2009 and 2010 I predicted would be just that...a dream. And lo and behond what unfolded on Saturday night in Chestnut Hill was an embarrassing and disgusting performance. They got shutout by a team that was allowing nearly 30 points per game in their previous 4 games. They didn't fight. They had defeat in their eyes as soon as Charlie limped out on the field. Charlie promised a "NASTY" team but what he has brought is too many nasty performances on the field. His most significant and memorable game at Notre Dame was a fucking lost to USC in 2005. They lost and yet it gave most Notre Dame fans hope they would compete with a big time program and rival like USC in the future years. They haven't come close.
So where do we go from here? If Notre Dame loses on Saturday to the Naval Academy they HAVE TO FIRE Charlie Weis at the end of the season. You can not lose consecutive games to Navy especially after last season when Charlie personally blew the game at home by not attempting the game winning field goal. Navy is undersized and undermanned in talent but you know they will fight to the end which can not be said about this 2008 Notre Dame squad. I hate having to bring in a new coach because in most times it is starting a rebuilding process that could take years. But this isn't the case for Notre Dame. Who ever coaches in 2009 and beyond will have a program loaded with 5 and 4 star players that Charlie Weis and his staff recruited. The coaching staff has done an excellent job of recruiting and for this they should be granted a pat on the back. But the performances, or lack thereof on Saturdays in the Fall by the football team, deserve a swift kick in the ass. There is no fire in this team because the coaching staff isn't holding players accountable for their actions.
Granted this season isn't nearly as painful as 2007 was but it's starting to approach that level for me. If Charlie Weis and his staff don't finish the season with wins over Navy and Syracuse and at least a respectable showing against USC then I think Charlie owes it to himself and all Notre Dame alumni and fans by walking away. If he really loves Notre Dame as much as I think he does he will do the right thing and hand the keys to somebody who can get the most out of this team. He has stated he will take over play calling duties this week over offensive coordinator Mike Haywood to help the offense score more points this week against Navy. Which means as long as they score then he is a genius right? Okay, sarcasm aside It's pretty simple, you go five wide and let Michael Floyd and Golden Tate run past Navy defenders while running a two minute offense like Texas Tech does because Jimmy Clausen is most comfortable in it. But the skeptic in me thinks we will come out with two deep in the backfield and try to pound the ball with our weak running game.
As my buddy Jeff always says, "Beer is great!" whenever I text him my frustrations about the Notre Dame program. It might be the perfect tonic in Baltimore on Saturday for me if the Irish play like they did in Chestnut Hill.
God have mercy on Notre Dame and especially my weak liver and sanity. Go Irish! Beat Navy!