No Bowl for Notre Dame

Charlie Weis likely put in his last official appearance as Notre Dame’s football coach Friday night. It was the team’s annual football banquet. And, lucky for Irish fans everywhere, there will be no bowl game to suffer through this year.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Notre Dame’s disappointing season arrived at two punctuation marks Friday: Officially, there will be no bowl appearance, and dismissed coach Charlie Weis made what is likely his final appearance with the program in an official capacity.

Weis attended the team banquet Friday night, presenting team awards and speaking to players, coaches, staff, families and guests, according to a release that provided no further detail.

Weis did not address the team in full upon his dismissal Monday.

Earlier in the day, as expected, the Irish pulled themselves out of consideration for a bowl game. It’s the first time a bowl-eligible Notre Dame team hasn’t played in the postseason since 1996, after Lou Holtz resigned.

According to the Trib, Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate shared the MVP award.

I would have given the nod to Golden Tate alone. Jimmy Clausen is overrated. He’ll survive as a backup in the pros, but he won’t start.

Yes, I make predictions on matters relating to sports, which matter next to nothing anyhow.

Golden Tate has potential.

Charlie Weis Out as Notre Dame Coach

From the Chicago Tribune:

In a widely expected move, Charlie Weis is out as Notre Dame’s football coach, athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced today.

Swarbrick cut ties with Weis following a disappointing 6-6 season that ended Saturday with a 45-38 loss at Stanford. Weis has six years left on his contract.

“We have great expectations for our football program, and we have not been able to meet those expectations,” Swarbrick said. “As an alumnus, Charlie understands those goals and expectations better than most, and he’s as disappointed as anyone that we have not achieved the desired results.”

Swarbrick recommended the dismissal Sunday night to Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John Jenkins.

“We have established an evaluation process for all of our athletic programs that, in the end, results in a recommendation from Jack to me,” Father Jenkins said. “I accepted Jack’s decision and look forward to working with him on selecting a new head football coach who is the very best choice possible for the University and especially for our student-athletes.”

Whew.

Read more here.

Charlie Weiss Again Snatches Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Unless Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick gets bizarre marching orders from above, today’s 45-38 loss to Stanford will serve as Charlie Weiss’ swan song. In a game full of spectacular offensive drives, Notre Dame’s defense collapsed time and time again to finally surrender the lead to Stanford’s resilient Hiesman-hopeful, Toby Gerhart.

From the Chicago Tribune:

The Irish ended up 45-38 losers to Stanford on a 4-yard touchdown run by Toby Gerhart in the final minute in a full-throttle race to test scoreboard capacity, blowing another double-digit lead and eradicating Weis’ slim hope to return and prolonging a miserable month.

The final score, really, was the only mystery here. Weis’ departure is expected within days, maybe hours, of the Irish’s early-morning return to South Bend, Ind., Sunday.

From the Sun-Times:

For all the media criticism of Weis, those attending his professorial weekly news conferences learned a lot about football. They learned that if an elite high school coach became an NFL offensive coordinator, his head would swim with Xs and Os. They also learned that an NFL offensive coordinator is just as overmatched coaching a team composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores.

That Weis spent so much time playing three-card Monte with young and inexperienced signal-callers heading into the 2007 season was the first sign of his failure to understand how to develop a young team. Instead of an identity, he gave them a split personality.

When his team needed a steady dose of Football 101, Weis delivered graduate-level courses. The program would never fully recover, and it would be a lack of fundamentals that would be largely responsible for where the Irish find themselves heading into today’s game at Stanford, which likely will be Weis’ last as ND’s coach.

Just when his teams learned how to block, they forgot how to tackle.

And a suggestion for ND’s next head coach from David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune:

An Irish change of the guard appears to be under way that, if governed correctly, will alter college football’s balance of power. As Charlie Weis coached what was believed to be his final regular-season game in an entertaining 45-38 loss Saturday night on the Farm, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops dodged rumors back in America’s heartland.

Bob Stoops at Notre Dame? With the schedule and talent in place, Stoops could promise his next recruiting class it will play in a national title game, and it wouldn’t sound like blarney.

What a tough year it was to be Irish.

On the off chance Notre Dame is offered a bowl bid, we can only hope and pray AD Swarbrick spares us all the embarrassment.

Clausen Turns It On to Give Notre Dame 37-30 OT Win

This one was exciting enough to keep my Mom glued to the television set watching football for the first time ever, according to my Dad.  So, I’m pleased to offer Charlie Weis kudos for today’s win after bashing him because of the loss to Michigan.

Face it, Charlie, you could have a perfect record today if you had managed the clock better against Michigan.

But that’s water under the bridge.

I give Charlie Weis, Jimmy Clausen and Robert Hughes, yes, Robert Hughes, credit for today’s win against Washington.

Here’s the report from the Chicago Sun-Times (still the best sports paper in Chicago):

Jimmy Clausen floated a 12-yard pass into the end zone that Kyle Rudolph caught over cornerback Quinton Richardson with 80 seconds left and Hughes pushed a pile of defenders into the end zone for the 2-point conversion and a 30-27 lead.

Erik Folk kicked a 37-yard field goal with 6 seconds left to tie the game at 30 and force overtime. Notre Dame (4-1) improved to 8-0 against Washington (2-3).

It was the wildest finish yet in a season of them for the Irish.

Clausen was 23 of 31 passing for a career-high 422 yards, the fifth highest passing yardage in five seasons under coach Charlie Weis. He threw one interception. Golden Tate caught nine passes for a career-high 244 yards and a touchdown. He set up Hughes’ TD run with a 22-yard catch on the first play in overtime.

Four hundred and twenty-two yards? Jimmy, keep this up, and you’ll play on Sunday.

This was an impressive win.  Yes, it was enough to keep my mother glued to the TV.

Look, that is no small accomplishment.  Mom doesn’t waste her time watching football.  Living in Pittsburgh, of all places, Mom has kept her distance from the gridiron.

Until today.

Jimmy, don’t get all full of yourself.  The season ain’t over yet.   The goal, after all, is the national title.  Not just a bowl game.

Charlie, I still have my doubts about you.

But today was pretty.

So, today, I stood as the band played our Alma Mater after the game.

And I’m crossing my fingers for the USC game in two weeks.

And, remember, guys, you’re only as good as your last game.  Next game, you have to prove it all over again.

Today, go ahead, cheer, cheer, for old Notre Dame.

And wake up the echoes in two weeks when we face USC.

Charlie Weis Throws the Game to Michigan

Commentary from an Angry Domer

Charlie Weis made sure Michigan would beat Notre Dame today. This Domer is not pleased.

And I love these quotes from Michigan:

A dropped TD pass didn’t deflate Tate Forcier. The Michigan freshman simply threw another one on the next play.

After LaTerryal Savory bobbled and dropped a reception that would’ve been a go-ahead touchdown with just seconds remaining, Forcier hit Greg Mathews for a 5-yard score with 11 seconds left, lifting the Wolverines to a 38-34 win over No. 18 Notre Dame on Saturday.

"It will go down in history as one of the greatest games in the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry," Mathews said. "I’m glad I got a chance to play in it."

Armando Allen ran for a touchdown and got the 2-point conversion on a nifty Statue of Liberty play with 5:13 left after Jimmy Clausen threw his third touchdown pass to give the Fighting Irish (1-1) the lead. But Charlie Weis chose to throw instead of trying to run time off the clock and Notre Dame’s defense could not deny Forcier and the Wolverines (2-0).

"I think it was mistake that they were throwing the ball because they let us save our timeouts," Forcier said. "Those timeouts definitely came in handy.

"I wasn’t expecting them to throw the ball. It really helped us."

No kidding.

I was having dinner with a friend at a local Chinese restaurant watching the game. With Notre Dame in the lead, all Charlie Weis’ fair-haired boy Jimmy Clausen had to do was run the ball. Run time off the clock. Make Michigan use its time-outs. Just don’t, don’t, under any circumstances, don’t throw the ball. Don’t take a chance on an interception. Don’t throw the ball. Control the game. And, of course, don’t throw the ball.

But Charlie had other plans. Charlie wanted to make Notre Dame work for the victory, and give Michigan another chance.

Charlie ordered pass plays. And Clausen failed miserably, unable to connect with any of his receivers, some of his passes flying wildly off-target.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Clausen completed 25 of 42 passes for 336 yards and three TDs, but he missed some throws throughout the game that proved to be costly.

That kind of thing tends to happen when you’re over-confident.

My dad tells me Weis boasted before the game that ND had a superior team, that Michigan would be no problem at all.

Sorry, Charlie. That’s the kind of arrogance that loses ball games.

Congratulations to Michigan. Did Charlie Weis bet against the Irish? I doubt it.

But he made certain they wouldn’t win.