Mention Notre Dame football, and a few things come to mind. You either love them or hate them. They do not belong to a conference. They aren’t the team they used to be. The Irish have been through Bob Davie and Ty Willingham without the great success the Irish was once familiar with. In 2005, in walks the “offensive guru”, the man with five Super Bowl rings. Charlie Weis takes over the football program in South Bend. OK, now Notre Dame is headed for the national title within the first three to five years. Some publications thought he would have the Irish in the big game in his second year. Two completed seasons down. What has Weis done with the golden domers?Notre Dame has a two-year record of 19 wins and 6 losses. That’s very impressive. Is it? Well, yeah. Which type of program would scoff at a win/loss record like that? It SEEMS very remarkable. But is it?
First, look at the wins over the teams in this two-year span. Check out the 2005 season for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish beat Michigan in 2005. Well, who didn’t beat the Wolverines in 2005? The combined win/loss record for the teams the Irish beat in 2005 was 44 wins and 58 losses (counting the losses the Irish handed them). Not counting the losses the record would be 44 – 49. How about the really good teams the Irish defeated in 2005? If you consider Navy (with an 8 – 4 record) and a 7 – 5 Michigan team, really good, go ahead. Those were the only two teams Notre Dame beat in 2005 that had winning records. Two teams. All hail Charlie Weis.
Well, 2006 had to be better, right? Maybe a little. The Fighting Irish beat Georgia Tech, Penn State, and Navy. These three teams had nine wins each. Hey Touchdown Jesus, not too bad. An eight-win Purdue team also fell to the Irish. But the combined win/loss record for the teams the Irish beat in 2006 was 57 wins and 70 losses (counting the losses to Notre Dame). Now, the record without considering these losses to Notre Dame would be 57 – 60. Those schedules in 2005 and 2006 are not really that difficult to get through with nine or ten wins.
There has to be some improvements as far as bowl games go for the Notre Dame program. Right? Notre Dame hasn’t won a bowl game in the two years that Weis has been head coach. To be honest, Notre Dame has given up about 1,200 yards of offense and been outscored 75 – 34 in the last two bowl games. Notre Dame played 8 teams that went to bowls in 2005 and 2006. The combined bowl record for these 8 teams was 2 wins and 6 losses. Are these types of stats building up the Charlie Weis hype? Or are they quickly tearing it down?
What are you getting at, exactly? Charlie Weis was supposed to be the man that brought the Irish back to national title prominence. I am not saying that Weis will never reach that status with this program, but he sure has gotten off to a slow start with a Heisman candidate and Maxwell Trophy winner quarterback Brady Quinn and all-star wide receiver Jeff Samardzija. Weis’ win/loss record looks good on paper. Examine it a little further, and it reveals that in South Bend, there is a lot to be desired.