BCS or Bust for Weis?

As head coach Charlie Weis enters his fifth season at Notre Dame, he will not only be attempting to bring the Irish back into the BSC picture, he could be fighting for his job.  After all, the Notre Dame team that will take the field on Saturday will be all of Weis’ recruits, and they will no longer be freshmen and sophomores. 
2009 could be a make or break year for Weiss

2009 could be a make or break year for Weis

So far, the only success Weis has had was with Ty Willingham’s recruits for his West Coast system.  Willingham, who was run out of South Bend after only three seasons, was the coach who brought in players like Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija and Tom Zbikowski, who were the backbone of Irish for Weiss’ first two seasons.

Possibly Weis’ most prized recruit in his tenure at ND was Jimmy Clausen, who will begin his third season as the starting QB in South Bend this season.  Coming out of high school, just about every football recruiting magazine tabbed Clausen as the top high school player in the country.

So far, Clausen has been less than stellar and has spent almost as much time on his back as he has on his feet–he was sacked a team-record 34 times as a freshman (wikipedia).  Clausen rebounded a bit from a rough freshman season in 2008  with just over 3000 yards passing with 25 TD’s and 17 picks, but critics will point out that the Notre Dame schedule, which is usually among the toughest in the nation, was far from that last season, facing off against teams like San Diego St., Syracuse and Washington.

Despite a weak schedule in 2008, Weis and his troops had to beat Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawai’i  Bowl game to secure a winning record of 7-6.  Not to be outdone, the 2009 schedule may just qualify the Irish for a shot at the Indiana Class 2A State Championship…if they can squeeze by Washington St. and Washington, who won a combined two games last season.

Just how bad has it gotten for Notre Dame?  Navy is listed as a rival on Wikipedia.  Before Weis’ tenure, the Irish managed to rattle off 43 consecutive victories over the Midshipmen.  That streak came to an end in 2007’s triple overtime upset in South Bend.  Navy nearly started a winning streak of their own, but they eventually fell to the Irish in last year’s match up by a score of 27-21.

With a weak schedule and a lot of experienced juniors and seniors, Weis actually has a great opportunity to turn things around this season.  But if he falls short of a BCS bid, there is a very strong possibility that alumni and boosters could turn up the heat, or even take the pan off the stove all together.

It is no secret that many Notre Dame faithful would love to take a second run at Florida coach Urban Meyer, whose 44-9 record overshadows Charlie’s very underwhelming 29-21 mark in the same time span.


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