Another highly ranked opponent. Another shellacking for Notre Dame. The worst thing about this one for the Irish is that the 41-14 beating LSU gave them in the Sugar Bowl last night really came as a shock to no one. Contrast that with the public reaction to the devastation Michigan put on them in September. Charlie Weis says his team simply did not improve over the course of the season. The head coach takes full responsibility for the trio of debacles against elite teams this year, and says the results are not acceptable to him as he begins sorting through the wreckage of New Orleans.
Weis' response is understandable for a man in his position, but I hope cooler heads will prevail among Notre Dame fans. Each time you watch this team play it's simply obvious that the Irish are drastically outmanned by top teams. It's not a question of the coach failing to get a team to its potential. It's just that the ceiling is too low. Given that Weis' early recruiting classes are highly rated, it's just a question of giving his players time to come through the system.
I thought the Irish were a little closer then they really are to getting back to national championship level. In August, I ranked them #1, but a review of the post I wrote does show that it was more a case of me simply not knowing who else to pick. I wasn't a believer in Ohio State, Texas or any of the other top contenders, and I was confident ND would at least get themselves in the mix
Notre Dame will have a year of re-tooling ahead of them, with a lot of new starters to find come spring. But in the meantime, they've had their best back-to-back years since 1992-93. While they don't beat top teams, they beat all the others they're supposed to. Just ask USC if that's as easy as it sounds. ND's consistency is the sign of a team that has a consistent work ethic and is well-coached. And the reports from the recruiting trail says that help is on the way. Hopefully, the subway alumni at Notre Dame won't rush to judgement before 2008 is over.