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The Overrated Led By the Even More Overrated

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The glorious effects of the reign of Charlie Weis, Super Genius (TM):

Weis’ Fighting Irish now stand at 1-7. This record is only the faintest indicator of just how awful Notre Dame is. They have lost nine of their last 10 games, by an average of 24 points. None has been close. While Notre Dame has suffered very few injuries, three of its opponents have had to play the Irish without their starting quarterbacks. Two of those teams, USC and Michigan, nonetheless beat Notre Dame by a larger margin than either has beaten any other opponent so far this year. Notre Dame’s lone win came against UCLA, which had been forced to use its third-string quarterback, a walk-on. In that game, Notre Dame compiled just 140 yards of offense, but won with the help of seven Bruin turnovers, five of them hand-delivered courtesy of the hapless walk-on signal-caller.

Just how bad is Notre Dame? Of the 119 teams in Division I-A, ND is 119th in total offense, 119th in rushing offense, 112th in passing offense, and 118th in scoring. If Notre Dame had doubled its scoring output, it would still rank 108th. If it doubled its rushing output (currently 34 yards a game), it would barely eke out Duke for 118th place.

The only thing not to like is that we’ll lose the annual pleasure of Notre Dame being humiliatingly demolished in a bowl game. On the other hand, this is one more BCS bowl a year with some chance of having a competitive game.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it also seems to me that Weis is getting off relatively unscathed here. Callahan is having an awful-but-not-quite-this-awful year with a proud team, and people in Lincoln want his head on a pointed stick. I haven’t sensed this with Weis.

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  • Jim

    Just wait until they end the season by beating the service academies and Stanford and geniuses like Lou Holtz will be talking about how ND has “overcome lots of adversity” and is “on a roll” going into next season. Ty Willingham went 6-6 in his third year and got fired. Best case scenario for Weis is 5-7 and there is a zero percent chance he gets fired. God I hate that school.

  • Redleg

    Callahan should be fired. NU does worse and worse each season. Watching them play is akin to getting a rectal exam by a doctor using a broken long-neck beer bottle.

  • tomboy

    The comparison between weis and willingham or callahan is pretty absurd. Weis has taken mediocre teams to BCS games the last two years, securing major dollars for the program. And don’t pretend Notre Dame had strong teams in either year – Brady Quinn was horrendous before Weis arrived. His record prior to this year was a fantastic 19-6. His teams finisheed ranked in the top 20 both years, something Ty and Bill have managed once in 6 full season coaching football powerhouses (and good luck this year, Bill Callahan). Nor have they ever take Nebraska or Notre Dame into the BCS promised land, which Weis did twice.
    This year has been horrendous for Notre Dame. But every preseason commentator I saw said they would be lucky to win one of their first 8 games, because they were playing much better teams with older, more experienced players. Every team they have played will end up in a bowl game. Nebraska has played at least 2, probably three teams that don’t belong anywhere near a bowl game (Nevada, Iowa St and take your pick between Ball and Oklahoma states). And Callahan can at least bring in juco players to Nebraska, an option not really open to Weis.
    I’m not really a Weis fan. He is probably overrated. But the comparisons are bad. He deserves at least 1 more year, probably two, because he has made a lot of money for the program – something Callahan and Willingham have not done. Their bad years weren’t as bad as Notre Dame this year, but 5-6 and 1-10 provide the same bowl payday. 8-4 and 10-3 provide very different bowl paydays. Thus Charlie get more slack.

  • Callahan probably should be fired, but I don’t see a whole lot of evidence that Nebraska is going to be the power they used to be. When Miami or Florida St. or USC have bad times, they are able to recover because they play in such great high school football states. Meanwhile, Nebraska has to compete with a lot of other schools in the good football states. While they have enough of a brand name to be a tough team, I don’t really see why anyone should think they will be consistently better than Kansas St. or Colorado in the Big 12 North.

  • Brady Quinn was horrendous before Weis arrived
    Wait, stop the presses! So a quarterback wasn’t very good as a freshman and sophomore, but was good as a junior and senior?! This is truly an amazing development!
    What tomboy also ignores is that Willingham overtook an option oriented program, and began turning it into a pro-style attack. When Weis arrived, he at least players recruited to play that style. Tyrone didn’t.
    Two more really pathetic things about Weis:
    1) They are currently last in yard per game, and second to last in (offensive) points per game, all with their alleged “genius” at the helm. Sorry, but if you’re on offensive “genius” you shouldn’t be last in offense. You should be able to take division two guys and at least get into the top 100. No one is asking them to light it up, but every team in college football is better than them on offense. And they can thank the dumbest coach in college football and fluke injury for their one win, where they amassed scoring drives of 2 yards, 29 yards, and -1 yards. Charlie found someone who could out-dumb him. Unfortunately, I had to witness the whole thing firsthand.
    2) Weis is in his third year. No more bitching about the “cupboard” being bare. For comparison’s sake, Ron Zook too over an Illinois team in even worse shape, talent-wise. He’s also in his third year. Illinois is 5-3, and should be 7-1. Plus, they have a quarterback who couldn’t hit an open receiver if his life depended on it. I know, ND has had a tougher schedule, but Penn State and Michigan are common opponents.
    Notre Dame isn’t just bad this year, they’re historically bad. And Weis deserves a ton of blame for that.

  • Seitz is absolutely right. This historically bad nature of this team undermines any defense of Weis. When you are worse offensively than Idaho, worse than Louisiana-Monroe, and worse than Temple, you are amazingly bad. No one with a legitmate claim to being an “offensive genius” has a team this bad in their 3rd year.

  • Well, Weis won’t be fired. He’s white! Whereas Willingham was black! It’s totally different!
    I wish I was joking, but I that’s the primary reason. Weis will get another year or two because of the color of his skin. There’s no other reason for him to stay around, because there’s no excuse for him to be struggling; put me in charge of Notre Dame and I could have the team at 5-7. It’s Notre Dame, for God’s sake. It takes epic incompetence to drive the Fighting Irish down to the absolute bottom of I-A football.

  • tomboy

    Seitz, Erik, Jeff
    Did Notre Dame go to two BCS games in the last two years or no? Would Notre Dame have likely been in the National championship game in 2006 were it not for an illegal Matt Leinart push on the professional-college-player Reggie Bush’s back? Would they have been DESTROYED by Texas? Yes, yes, and yes.
    My only point about Quinn was that they were a pretty bad team when Weis came in. They were unranked in the preseason, coming off a loss in the Insight Bowl and a glorious $500,000 payday. And Urban Meyer didn’t want the job because the program was in such bad shape, despite family and personal connections to the job. But what does he know about college football?
    Weis then took them to a BCS game and a payday 15 times the Insight Bowl. He followed that up with a trip to the Sugar Bowl, with a $8.5 million dollar payout. That is a payout 32 times the previous two seasons’ bowl payouts. Not bad. And don’t tell me they got that money just because they were Notre Dame or that Notre Dame always gets into top bowl games it doesn’t deserve. Willingham had those same advantages, and he produced less than $2 milloin in bowl payout in 3 seasons. Notre dame hadn’t gone to two top bowl games in consecutive years since the 1994 and 1995 football seasons.
    So shut up about him being fired. He won’t be, and it isn’t because he’s white. The way the bowl system is structured, you could go to 4 straight Gator Bowls and you would make less than in 3 straight 0-11 seasons and 1 BCS game. As long as NBC keeps showing the games (which they do) and the seats are filled (which they are) the bowl game is the only thing way a coach can contribute to the revenue stream. That’s the business side of things. All else is irrelevant.
    It is not even about his winning percentage, which is still much better than ty willingham’s. He has made them lots of MONEY. I don’t know about you, but that is the kind of thing my employer likes. In fact, he once told me that if I made him a million dollars, I could walk into his office and take a dump, and he wouldn’t fire me. He’d yell, but he wouldn’t fire me. I don’t think he was joking. And yes, I too am white. But I bet he would like the money just the same if I were black.
    So Weis has inarguably brought a financial boom to the ND football program, especially compared to Willingham. Weis has had top ten recruiting classes in each of the last two years. I don’t know what the recruiting class was in the year before he got there, but lets bet it wasn’t great, they didn’t have a coach for a critical period, and Weis was then still employed by the Patriots and unable to recruit.
    This year has been terrible. But they haven’t lost any TV contracts, still sell out games, and probably will have another good recruiting year, though likely not as good as the last two. So Weis gets more time. A year or two more at least.

  • Ok, hang on.
    1. Ty got fired after [well, while] going 6-6 AFTER a year in which he went 5-6. Weis went 10-3 last year so this is his down year where the alumni give him [some] slack. Even if he wins out this year, he will be on the hot seat next year.
    2. Weis is fired if he loses to Navy. I will eat crow if he makes it to December if he loses that game. No offense to Navy, who have been fairly good the past few years, but the coach that breaks the 43 game winning streak will get major flak.
    3. I’m surprised the lack of faith or trust in Weis isn’t reaching out beyond campus. The student body is PISSED as hell. This example stands out to me, so I’ll try to explain it. In between the 3rd and 4th quarters, the band plays the 1812 Overture and the students make a W with their thumbs and forefingers. Initially it represented “Win” but it’s been used for “Ty” [Willingham] and the past three years “Weis”. This year it’s been very, very muted, but we did it. At the USC game, the student body booed, yelled things like “you suck Weis”, and instead of forming a W flipped off the ND sideline or [in my case] made double Ls for Loser. We’re ready to storm the field so we can run his fat ass out of town on a rail. Jeff’s right about one thing: ANYONE can get ND to 5 wins; it’s Notre Fucking Dame.
    4. I gotta object to the “none of our losses have been close” statement. Purdue and BC were made close games at the end before the comeback faltered. We pulled within 1 TD of Purdue before they put us away, and we had two drives into the red zone against BC that got us 0 points and we only lost by 13. That said, yes, we have played like absolute garbage and the performance last week was a fucking disgrace and embarrassment. I don’t mind losing if you’re bad, and I’ve rooted for teams who have won less, but I won’t tolerate a team that doesn’t fucking try.

  • Did Notre Dame go to two BCS games in the last two years or no?
    If they actually got into these bowls on merit, this would be rather more convincing.

  • Scott,
    They were the highest-ranked BCS Bowl Eligible Team last year at the end of the season. There are plenty of teams to blame for that, as well as the rules [no more than 2 teams from a conference can make a BCS bowl].
    Frankly, being in the BCS bowl last year sucked. We were way outclassed by LSU.

  • Except that virtually no one but Notre Dame fans and network executives actually thought they deserved to go. There were 5-7 teams more deserving last year.

  • eb

    Notre Dame is the rotten borough of the college polls.

  • Ugh

    I’m glad tomboy is here, because before this I thought Notre Dame football was all about tradition, “Wake up the Echoes”, “The Gipper”, “The Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse”, Knute Rockne, Ara Parseghian , Lou Holtz, “Touchdown Jesus”, “Play Like a Champion Today”, “Rudy”, National Championships, Heisman Trophies, etc. etc. etc.
    But apparently it’s about the same thing everything else in college football is about:
    Money money money money money.

  • Davis X. Machina

    But apparently it’s about the same thing everything else in college football is about:
    It’s not college football, it’s the NFL Development League. If the NCAA had any integrity, they’d pick thirty two schools, pay ’em, pay the players, and drop everybody else to I-AA, or even better, no-scholarship Division II.
    How the NBA and NFL talked the colleges of America to run their minor leagues for them, at the colleges’ expense (and the taxpayers’, for the state schools) is beyond me.

  • JBJ

    I have never before seen the argument that a 1-10 record should be no more likely to get a coach fired than a 5-6 record. I understand the bowl-game money point, but still… that’s one for the books.

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