Notre Dame Football: Biggest Weaknesses for Fighting Irish

Sebastian LenaAnalyst INovember 12, 2012

Golson (left) has to step up his game if his Irish are going to complete the perfect season
Golson (left) has to step up his game if his Irish are going to complete the perfect seasonJared Wickerham/Getty Images

With only two games remaining, the 10-0 Notre Dame football team stands a good chance of wrapping up their season undefeated. However, it’s looking more and more likely that the Fighting Irish will be left out in the cold when the BCS title game matchup is announced.

They only have their glaring weaknesses to blame for that.

As it stands, Notre Dame is ranked No. 3 in the BCS standings behind No. 1 Kansas State (10-0) and No. 2 Oregon (10-0). The Fighting Irish only trail the Ducks by .0101 points.

Still, unless either of those teams drops a game, Notre Dame will have to settle for a berth in one of the other four BCS bowl games.

One of the reasons for that is the underwhelming performance of their offense.

The Fighting Irish come in with the No. 61 ranked offense in the nation. The team ranks No. 90 in passing (204.6 YPG), No. 33 in rushing (198.7 YPG) and No. 77 in scoring (26.1 PPG). Notre Dame have exceeded 30 points only three times this season.

Those aren’t the kind of dazzling numbers that leave opposing defenses cowering in the corner.

Quarterback Everett Golson hasn’t done much to impress either.

The sophomore has only thrown for eight touchdowns all season. Furthermore, he’s only averaging 157.2 YPG and has a 58 percent completion rate. Golson has thrown for more than 250 yards only once this season.

God forbid the Fighting Irish fall way behind early in a game. Who would actually have faith in Golson to mount a comeback?

Then there’s the issue of the strength of schedule.

Many Notre Dame fans will counter with the fact that the team has the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Stanford and USC all on their schedule. In a normal year, sure, that would make one heck of a formidable schedule.

However, this season those five teams have combined for a total of 15 losses. Hardly the strength of schedule the Fighting Irish thought they were getting themselves into back in August.

With Oregon likely facing three top-15 ranked teams to close out its season, there is no possible way Notre Dame will jump the Ducks simply by winning out.

Finally, the team’s biggest weakness could also be the team’s biggest obstacle standing in their way of a perfect season: an end of the season trip to the Coliseum to play No. 18 USC (7-3).

While the Trojans have looked solid at best this season, they always seem to save their greatest effort for their matchup with Notre Dame. In the last 10 match ups between the two rivals, USC has come away with a victory nine times. This includes a 31-17 victory in South Bend last season.

Mixed with the pressure of trying to complete a perfect season, this game has all the makings of a perfect storm.

Ultimately, the Fighting Irish have essentially fumbled their destiny into the hands of the opponents of both Oregon and Kansas State.

As Notre Dame has found out the hard way, sometimes your biggest enemy is yourself.


Also check out: BCS Rankings Week 11: Which Undefeated Team Has the Toughest Road Left?

You can follow Sebastian on Twitter at @SP7988