Monday, November 24, 2008

Notre Dame Preparing to Join the Old Big Eight

Let me be completely honest here: I despise Notre Dame. It's probably the same type of hate some folks have towards Nebraska, and then some, as it's rooted in jealousy. They've earned their place in college football history, but over the last twenty years or so, they have been living off their legacy. It really got started in 1993 when they whined about losing their spot in the Orange Bowl after losing to Boston College. Their TV deal with NBC is the most outrageous in college football. And when they aren't horrible, their name recognition lands them in bowl games that they aren't qualified for; they've lost nine straight bowl games over the last fifteen years.

Part of their problem is their whole hubris. After fearing that Lou Holtz would surpass Knute Rockne as the winningest coach in Irish history, they began a revolving door of coaches that continues to this day. After nearly losing to Navy the previous week, the Irish lost to woeful Syracuse on Saturday, bringing out the calls for Charlie Weis' firing.

I'll be honest here. I don't watch Notre Dame much, so I don't know whether Weis is the problem or not. I do know that three years ago, Weis was supposed to be the wundercoach, getting an absurd ten-year contract for fear he'd jump to the NFL. Now all of a sudden, he's an idiot. (Which he might be for all I know...)

Notre Dame is improved this year, but not enough. Irish fans expected a New Years Day bowl team as part of their birthright, and since that's not happening, someone has to pay. So unless Weis can some how figure out a way to upset USC this Saturday, they'll be 6-6 and get an OK bowl bid that they don't deserve.

And if they fire Weis this year, they'll essentially apply for membership in the old Big Eight conference as one of the little six that go through the motions every three or four years. Hire a Woody Wiedenhofer, muddle through three or four years, fire him, and start over. Lather, rinse, repeat. It helped ensure that Nebraska and Oklahoma dominated the Big Eight in the 70's and 80's.

You see, athletic programs all are looking for the next Bob Stoops or Urban Meyer, who just jump in and bring home trophies right away. Problem is, that just doesn't happen very often. It usually takes time. Colorado nearly axed Bill McCartney before the Buffaloes finally got some traction in the late 80's. Iowa State nearly gave up on Dan McCarney before started bringing Ames some bowl teams. Sometimes it takes time.

Listen, I'm not a Weis fan. He didn't deserve his ten year extension, and he's proved it the last couple of seasons. But 6-6 is still better than 3-9, correct?

Notre Dame can keep hope for the next Meyer, Stoops, Holtz, or Rockne, and continue the vicious cycle that brought them Gerry Faust, Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, and now Weis. Or they can take their punishment and let Weis attempt to pull himself off of the petard he's hoisted himself on. Frankly, I think Notre Dame has more to lose by making a change.


AJ said...

So everybody needs to be patient, but Bill Callahan can go from North Champs in year 3 to 5 wins, and he must not only be fired, but must be harmed physically?

Do as I say not as....

Got it.


PS - You'll never hate Notre Dame as much as I hate Nebraska.

Husker Mike said...

It wasn't just five wins that caused BC to get dismissed. It was losing 38-0 to Oklahoma State in Lincoln at halftime. It was giving up 76 points to Kansas. It was giving up 173 points in three November games. It was having a team that was disinterested, and a head coach who was belligerent and clueless as his program disintegrated around him.

I see what you are saying, but going from 3 to 6 wins is an improvement. Going from 9 to 5, and getting drilled by nearly everybody on the schedule is something completely different.

Carl said...

There's a big difference between BC and Weis. Callahan was never a good fit for Nebraska.

His (BC's) dismantling of the walk on program, his closed door policy to alums, his inability to coach fundamentals, his real inability to adjust and lack of inspiration all contributed to a real backward slide. Many were hanging their pro-BC hat on his recruiting, but you (AJ) keep claiming there's no talent in Lincoln. So how is BC's firing even remotely comparable to the Weis situation in South Bend?

Many of us Husker fans didn't want Solich fired. AJ you have it real easy finding inconsistencies in behavior when you put the desires of one part of the fan base against the other.

I know that to you it looks the same, but your black and gold colored glasses don't allow you to see straight.

As for ND, I hope they fire Weis, I hope they continue to act like spoiled brats. I hope they never see the light of college football greatness again, ever. I hope they're forced to join a conference and lose their lucrative TV deal. I hope '4th and inches' Jesus pulls himself off the ND campus and walks down to Boston College to watch real football.

I developed a deep seated dislike of ND when they turned down a bowl game that was 'beneath them'.

But maybe that's just me...

AJ said...

I see both sides, but I"m not sure how you can say it's THAT much different. Remember, all the way up til about 6 weeks before you guys fired BC, LOTS of people loved him. Ok, maybe not Mike and a few others...but a large number of fans...dare I say a strong majority loved him. He was coming off a North title and was bringing in all of those big recruits you guys loved.

As for me saying there is no talent in Lincoln...I shall rephrase that by saying there is no talent at key postions.

Obviously Ganz is a servicable QB who is playing in a system that fits him well. Although I think he is used horribly, Helu has shown some promise, as have a few guys on your O-line.

But at wide receiver, and running back are woefully short in talent. You've also struck gold by having your defensive backs staying healthy and some of your walk-ons on defense actually contribute.

What is key will Pelini do with his own players? Regardless of whether or not you or I think BC's players were "talented"...they are still his players making up a large portion of Nebraska's roster.

With that being said, if ANYTHING, I think BC was in a better situation...and was fired for less...than what Charlie Weis "should" be fired for today (arguably.) Granted, even Callahan would find a way to beat Syracuse, but that's beside the point.

To Mike's point, all those lopsided losses were both the coach's fault AND THE FANS/MEDIA's fault. You guys winning the North in 06 was the worst thing that could have happened to you, because you did so without really accomplishing any great wins.

The hype got so thick, that your players believed it. Then when things went south..they looked to coaching..which was poor, and just flat out quit.

Bottom line, I don't believe you can call for Charlie Weis to be fired one year, when you started a the season last year with a coach who was very much in the same sort of boat.

Berger said...

Watson is one of two reasons i held confidence in a quick husker turn-around in 2008. bo pelini would be the other reason.

Watson won me over with Zac Taylor and Joe Ganz performances in 2006-07. Husker fans aren't dumb; I was giving Watson the credit for the success of the Husker offense in the post-Solich era. We need guys like Watson to commit to our program. We really need him to win a National Championship.

Sean Berger