Notre Dame Loses Its Fifth, Charlie Weis Era Possibly Coming to a Close

Christopher Chavez@@Chris_J_ChavezAnalyst IINovember 21, 2009

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 21: Head coach Charlie Weis of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish walks out of the tunnel before lining up to enter the field for a game against the Univeristy of Connecticut Huskies at Notre Dame Stadium on November 21, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When Connecticut's Andre Dixon ended up in the end zone after a four-yard touchdown run in the second overtime, he secured a 33-30 Huskies win over Notre Dame. But Dixon's run may have done more than given Notre Dame its fifth loss on the season; it may have marked the end of the Charlie Weis era for Notre Dame football.

Connecticut coach Randy Edsall acknowledged that this season was very rough for his team and for the school. Edsall recently stated that his squad not only had to face tough teams, but that they also experienced a stunning and surprising tragedy and a lot of heartbreak.

Edsall was emotional after the win and said that the game ball would be given to the family of slain cornerback Jasper Howard. After the game he pointed to the heavens and said "No. 6. Jazz, this one's for you!"

Edsall choked up and said that this was the "best win we've ever had." With the victory over Notre Dame, Connecticut improved to 5-5 on the season. This win was the first for the Huskies since its victory over Louisville on Oct. 17, a game that was played just hours before Jasper Howard was killed outside the school's student union. 

Even with all of the emotion from Connecticut's side, Notre Dame's loss most likely means that Weis will be fired as the head coach. Weis is in his fifth year, and will be lucky to see a sixth. 

In order for him to have any chance at saving his job, Weis needs to pull off an upset against Stanford next week. However, a victory over a ranked Cardinal team may not be enough for Weis' chances. Many fans and college football critics believed that Weis needed to win today's game and then have his team give an inspired performance next week at Palo Alto for him to stay on as the Irish's head coach. 

But things rarely go as planned for Notre Dame under Weis's direction.  The Irish started the season 6-2, but have now lost three straight. With a loss next week at Stanford, Notre Dame would finish with a .500 for the second straight year. 

During the telecast of the game on NBC today, a clip was shown of Charlie Weis' hiring back in 2004. At his press conference, Weis stated, "If you think they hired me here to go .500, you've got the wrong guy."  Looks like Notre Dame did get the wrong guy. 

Weis was hired because of his reputation as a great offensive play caller.  Fortunately for Notre Dame fans, Weis has not failed in to deliver on that side of the ball.  During his first two years, Weis was able to give Fighting Irish faithful back-to-back BCS berths, led by a potent combination of Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardjiza. 

More recently, Weis has been fortunate to rely on the services of Jimmy Clausen at quarterback and Golden Tate at wide receiver. On Saturday, Tate set the single-season school record for catches (83) and yardage (1,295).  All of this proves that Weis is one of the better offensive coaches and recruiters in the country.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his defense.  

The game on Saturday was further proof of Weis' defensive shortcomings.  The Irish surrendered a combined 244 rushing yards to the Huskies' Andre Dixon and Jordan Todman, most of that coming in the fourth quarter.  It is painful to imagine what Stanford's Toby Gerhart might inflict upon the Fighting Irish defense next weekend.

Notre Dame's Athletic Director, Jack Swarbick, has decided not to discuss Charlie Weis' future until after the Stanford game. He also said that money will not be a factor in the decision.

One would imagine that it is time for Notre Dame to make a change.

They should hire a complete coach, and not just a guy that knows how to call offensive plays. They made that mistake with Weis and should not make it again.