Charlie Weis was one pain-staking loss to an inferior team away from losing the support of the Notre Dame community and fan base.
That very loss came on Saturday when the Irish played one of their worse collections of four quarters of football during the Weis era, losing to a more disciplined, sound team in the Navy Midshipmen.
Fresh off a blowout win in San Antonio against Washington State and with BCS talks starting to brew, Notre Dame overlooked a Navy team that had proven all year long that it could compete against BCS teams across the nation. Instead of competing in South Bend, they decided it was time to take a win from one of those teams.
Although this loss digs up many new questions, the most appealing one at the time is who will replace Charlie Weis?
My views and opinions are full of extreme optimism. In previous weeks, I also stated I was hanging in regards to supporting Weis, but that could change with just one bad loss.
With three games still left to be played, including a trip to Pittsburgh, a matchup with a good Connecticut team, and a west coast road trip to face a team fresh off an upset victory of Oregon, the Irish will be happy with an 8-4 finish this season, likely earning them a Gator Bowl invitation.
Weis and his team lost to the one team that could change their fate so negatively. With that, almost all of the Weis supporters that were still on his bandwagon have jumped off and started running towards Cincinnati, Gainesville, or elsewhere to find a replacement.
Weis is one of the best recruiters ever to come to Notre Dame. He has brought top talent into South Bend, a tough task with the rigorous academic requirements, consistently for five years.
However, what good is elite talent if all of it cannot be developed?
Saturday, four and five-star players were playing against unranked to two-star players. On paper, Notre Dame would have won this game without any concern as most experts had predictions of the Irish winning by 17 or more.
Instead, Weis' team came out flat and was dominated by a less talented, yet extremely well coached team that consistently executed.
Weis is one of the best offensive coordinators not only in college football, but in any league.
However, there are two sides of the ball. Defense wins football games, which has not been evidenced by Weis and his staff thus far.
Notre Dame fans will now be calling for a coach with college experience that has a history of preparing his teams, making them fundamentally sound, and one that can recruit yet develop that same talent.
The rumors of Brian Kelly to Notre Dame will now begin to heat up, and expect plenty of more fans to begin to support the push for a Kelly-like hire.
Kelly has his Bearcats ranked No. 4 in the country and a team dominating the Big East without any trouble. Not only can he recruit, but he can develop. Not to mention, in all of his previous three coaching gigs, his teams have improved dramatically.
Other rumors calling for the head of Weis will come along with the requests of the hire of a famous Notre Dame coaching alum, Urban Meyer.
Everyone knows whats on Meyer's resume. With experience coaching on the Notre Dame staff already, it only makes sense for his name to be brought up. This is the same guy that called Notre Dame his eventual "dream job".
Other names that could arise include Skip Holtz, Gary Patterson, Nick Saban, and Chris Peterson. Hell, go out and interview Paul Johnson or Ken Niumatalolo.
These are college football coaches.
Weis is a great man and a like able person, especially coming from a Morris County, Jersey guy like myself. He has a great personality, is loved in South Bend, and has a great family who is actively involved in the school community. Not only that, but he is the founder of the Hannah and Friends charity organization dedicated to his young daughter's disease.
However, Weis' luck may have ran out on Saturday.
Friendly advice from one of the previously biggest Charlie Weis supporters in the fan base: pack your office, let Charlie Jr. spend his fours years as a Notre Dame student, run your foundation, go on to have a spectacular career in the NFL as an offensive genius, and leave the door open for the next person in line for a coaching internship in South Bend.