Loss To Navy Costs Irish More Than a BCS Bowl Game

Torey ZiskaCorrespondent IINovember 8, 2009

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 03: Kyle Rudolph #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs onto the field with teammates before a game against the Washington Huskies on October 3, 2009 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Washington 37-30 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Notre Dame's loss to Navy cost them a shot at a BCS bowl game this year.  It also cost them a chance at the National Championship next year.  How so, you ask?

A few weeks ago, I felt Notre Dame was a legitimate contender for next season’s national championship game. 

Then, they played against USC and despite the painful loss I felt more then ever that next year they were going to be a force. 

Yes, their defense needs some work, but assuming they return everyone on offense and stay healthy, they should easily head into the Coliseum in the final week undefeated. 

Jimmy Clausen is a top-five quarterback in the nation and probably the best overall passer.  Golden Tate and Michael Floyd are hands down the best wide receiver duo and TE Kyle Rudolph is top-ten and probably top-five in the country.

The offensive line will have some new faces but nonetheless there is no reason the Irish couldn’t put up 35 points per game next season.

However, after Saturday’s extremely disappointing loss to Navy, I am willing to bet not only will Notre Dame not be fighting for a championship, they won’t even make it to a bowl game. 

Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.  I believe the loss to Navy has sealed Charlie Weis’ fate.  He may make it through the season but that is it.             

He should be fired by season’s end, which in turn will make Clausen enter the draft.  Personally I believe Tate would then also enter the draft and possibly Rudolph as well. 

Even if both stay and only Clausen goes, it will be a rough year for Notre Dame.       

Current backup QB Dayne Crist is said to be very capable, but he is currently injured and his status for the beginning of next season is up in the air.  That would mean the Irish would be forced to go with a true freshmen under center and even if he was lucky enough to have Tate, Floyd and Rudolph, the lack of a running game and a young offensive line would spell disaster.

The only question that remains is whether or not Weis will really get fired.  If Notre Dame wins out, I could see them keeping him around because they realize they have a shot to be a force next season. 

However, with games at Pittsburgh and at Stanford still on the schedule, the Irish could very easily end up with five losses this season and at that point, I don’t believe there is any other option but to let Weis go and start rebuilding all over again.