A recruiting class ranked among the top 15 for the fourth straight year.
Yes, once again, Notre Dame still finds itself out of BCS contention at 6-4 and staring at the prospect of a .500 season. Boo hoo.
Not surprisingly, the school and the clueless fans who still root for this team nationwide appear set on a new football coach. Yes, another one. Charlie Weis simply hasn't cut it, just as Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham failed to channel God's intentions and win for his favorite football team before him. Supposedly, winning is still the Notre Dame way. I guess someone forgot to tell Mr. Record Book, post-1994.
Here's the problem: The faithful in South Bend made a wrong turn somewhere in the early 90s, back when Tony Rice and Rocket Ismail were relevant football players. So please, I beg you: If you see anyone who looks boring, and appears to be dressed in stuffy 17-year-old clothes that may or may not have shamrocks on them, direct them to the nearest police officer or a gas station. They need directions. Fast.
The Notre Dame program as they once knew it is finished. Gone. Kaput. Not only is Knute Rockne not walking through the tunnel, neither is Lou Holtz. And if you've seen Lou bumbling on TV this fall, you understand how pathetic that commentary sounds. But the problem runs deep.
The idea Notre Dame remains an elite program and an elite job for coaches is outdated at best, foolhearty at worst. Even people who seem to understand how far the Irish has fallen don't quite grasp the enormity of the freefall, nor the reasons for it. They claim the university's high academic standards ruin the program's ability to recruit with the Floridas and USCs of the college football world. So how has Stanford, a far superior school, rebuilt under Jim Harbaugh?Golden Domers can catch the reborn Cardinal in two weeks, when Stanford wipes the floor with them.
The truth is simpler than poor coaches and the wrong players. First, athletes want to compete in a major conference, not against Navy, Purdue and UConn in meaningless non-league games. Second, most have no recollection that Notre Dame once rocked the NCAA. None. This is such a huge factor that few ever discuss.
Players today are far too young. The 2010 commits, for example, were born in 1992. And remember: This is a team that has one win (last year's Hawaii Bowl) in its last 10 bowl games. One! The Irish lost those nine games by a total of 159 points, or more than 17 a game. So not only is Notre Dame unable to win bowl games, it is almost always non-competitive. Mediocre football is all 18-year-olds associate the Irish with.
Rumor has it Weis' job may interest Urban Meyer, a man as shrewd as the Irish faithful are delusional. Chances are the two-time national champ will simply pump Florida for whatever money it has left in the budget — your typical merciless shakeout. Honestly, I can't blame him.
Secretly, I hope Meyer will use his love for ballyhooed love for South Bend as leverage. That's about the only area Notre Dame football can be competent in these days.
In fact, don't real Top-25 programs like USC, Michigan and Boston College use the Irish every year? For wins, of course.