Archive for Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Commentary: Notre Dame not a national title threat

Fighting Irish grossly overrated early in this college football season

September 6, 2006


— If Notre Dame is the fourth-best college football team in the nation, then I'm a supermodel.

Please, Domers, don't be offended. And stop looking at my legs.

You believe down to your Kelly green underwear that Notre Dame is back where it belongs and that coach Charlie Weis has been put on this Earth to bring national championships back to South Bend.

You should believe. That's what you do best. You're truer to your school than anybody I know. But this isn't about you or even your team. This is about hype. This is about thick, bloated hype and the way it drags down otherwise clear-thinking people. Something happens to the media when it comes to Notre Dame, and it's not pretty.

Apparently, any day that includes the words "shillelagh," "Touchdown Jesus" and "wake up the echoes" is a good day in the media business.

The Irish, ranked second at the time, hung on to beat Georgia Tech, 14-10, on Saturday night in Atlanta. Now, it's quite possible the unranked Yellow Jackets are a lot better than most people originally thought. They have a good quarterback, a good running game and a great receiver. They certainly made Notre Dame work.

But if the Irish were the second-best team in the country at the time, then Georgia Tech must have been a top-10 team. And I didn't see that either.

It's nice to know that logic, upon occasion, can prevail. Despite the victory, Notre Dame dropped from second to fourth in the Associated Press media poll Tuesday. But, trust me, a decisive victory over 19th-ranked Penn State this week and we'll be talking about the shabby treatment Notre Dame received at the hands of the voters.

This is what we have been able to glean about the Irish from the early-season coverage:

It's a race to see whether Weis will be accepted for membership into Mensa before he's elevated to sainthood. If he legally changed his name to Coach Guru, no one would bat an eye. He will never, ever be outcoached, though give Bob Davie credit for having the temerity to question some of Weis' decisions during the broadcast.

Quarterback Brady Quinn is the second coming of Joe Montana, even if he looked like Ron Powlus at times Saturday. Two-sport star Jeff Samardzija is Jim Thorpe. Boxer-safety Tom Zbikowski is the tough-as-nails kid who would just as soon hit you with an uppercut as a shoulder pad. They might be college students, but we already know as much about them as any NFL star.

Notre Dame - and we have this on good authority-has a hallowed tradition.

Ball all of that up and you have yourself a No. 4 ranking.

The fascinating thing about Weis is he doesn't do anything to counteract the hyperventilation. And he has done nothing to stop the push for his beatification. Either he sees recruiting benefits in it or he believes it himself.

Being overrated is not Notre Dame's fault.

It's the fault of all of us who buy into the Irish mystique, to the point where we can't separate fact from superstition. I see a team with potential. I don't see a top-five team.


gameronin 11 years, 7 months ago


Your article was entertaining, especially how your conclusion gives you an end-of-season out if ND is # 1 or finishes in the top 5. You said with the Irish "... we can't separate fact from superstition." If that's so you may be superstituous. You admit "seeing a team with potential" but you "don't see a top-five team." You may be having trouble seeing.

Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech played a great game, they deserve respect for that. The Irish clearly were not working like the high powered offense they were last year. There were several mental errors by a veteran offensive line. Rick, look at the stats between the 1st half and the 2nd half. It's not unusual for a good team to need one game to tune up. A close game was probably what Notre Dame needed.

Now Penn State is a great team. They have super players and are very well coached. Joe Paterno is one of the greatest college coaches of all time. Charlie Weis has said he knows he'll never achieve what Paterno has done. It will be a great game. Penn State will win if Notre Dame doesn't play better.

I've not seen Weis promoting "the push for his beatification." Weis knows what he's doing, or have you lost your mind not remembering the stats Notre Dame posted last year, and several Patriot Super Bowl wins ? Or maybe he's just a lucky guy, huh Rick? Stats are facts Rick. A win is a win. And no games would be played and no odds given if all wins were predictable. It's just one game at a time.

So what are you thinking Weis and the Notre Dame football team have been doing this week? Celebrating the Georgia Tech win ? Drinking beer and watching boxing and baseball games? Thinking about how to create more mental mistakes? Maybe Weis has even shortened practice time and said "dont worry lads, everything will work out." Notre Dame respects Penn State and vice versa. Or do you think Paterno has been easy on his team this week given the easy win over Notre Dame you seem to be predicting?

And Rick, what's all that about your legs? You may want to keep what you think are your best features out of your sports column and into a personal ad somewhere. Your article seems designed to offend the Irish nation severally, Rickadoloodo, and to draw the admiration and hyperventilation of others. But thanks for more post-up material for the Notre Dame football team.

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