BYU vs. Notre Dame: Irish Better Hope Everett Golson Starts and Finishes at QB

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 19, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 06: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish pitches the ball to George Atkinson III #4 against the Miami Hurricanes at Soldier Field on October 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Notre Dame defeated Miami 41-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We are eight weeks into the college football season and Notre Dame is still dealing with quarterback issues.

Is it Everett Golson or Tommy Rees?

Golson has started each game for the Irish, but Rees somehow finds his way onto the field to finish them. Every time a situation gets hairy for the first-year starter, he is pulled from the game by head coach Brian Kelly and forced to watch the junior quarterback barely bail the offense out.

Now there is an injury situation that will make everyone's decision a little easier, as Golson left last week’s matchup with a concussion. He was cleared to practice this week, but no decision will be made on who plays the quarterback position until the start of the game, according to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.

"'I won't make a decision on the quarterback until game time,' Kelly said. 'I've prepared all three of the quarterbacks (Golson) has made progress, we monitor it every single day. These aren't decisions we're making without giving him an opportunity to be evaluated each day.'"

Well, so much for an easy decision.

If Golson has been cleared to play this game and is no longer suffering any symptoms of last week’s injury, Notre Dame better play the kid.

If he isn't cleared to play, that means Rees will likely be the starting quarterback in this week’s matchup against BYU. And while he has looked good for periods at a time, Irish fans couldn't possibly be confident with him playing an entire game.

The Cougars may have a 4-3 record, but this is a solid team that is very much like Notre Dame in the fact that they play terrific defense. The 260 yards allowed each game is good for fifth in the country, while their opponents' 25 percent on third down conversions is good for third in all of college football.

This is an experienced defense that flies to the football and makes the opposing offense work for every little yard.

And after one bad performance last week against Oregon State, BYU is prepared to make up for it when they head into South Bend on Saturday afternoon, according to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.

"'As a defense we want to make sure that everybody knows that wasn't us.' BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley said. 'We watched the film (Monday) and it was insightful. We’re anxious to go out and play a quality team and show what we’re about.'"

This brings us back to Rees, who threw 14 interceptions last year, with three of those completions to the other team coming in the red zone. Rees often looked lost out on the football field and was more of a burden to the offense than he was a help.

He constantly made terrible decisions with the football and it was his costly mistakes that contributed heavily to last year’s disappointing season.

Now with Notre Dame having its most successful season in years and staring at a possible BCS bowl or National Championship, the last thing this program can afford is to lose to a less talented BYU football team, especially with Oklahoma and USC still on the schedule.

Golson has been shaky himself at times, but he has shown terrific upside and hasn't gone starts where he could have possibly thrown five or more interceptions.

Everyone knows who the better quarterback in South Bend is and hopefully for the sake of the team, he is the starter come Saturday.

"We're monitoring (Golson's) health," Kelly said. "This is about health and safety. This isn't about who the starting quarterback is."

The starting quarterback is Golson and he needs to be on the field this weekend, otherwise the Cougars improve their chances of upsetting the Irish and putting a dent in those Notre Dame national title hopes.