While the crowd cheered when the Irish scored and made noise for UConn on third down, it was hollow. For this Fighting Irishman, who attended his first Notre Dame football game at the age of 11 years old, it felt like the next-to-last performance of a burned-out theater troupe—everyone saying their lines and hitting their marks, even as the spark went out of both the actors and the audience. As the game wore on, a deadly, heavy blanket of inevitability descended. By the middle of the third quarter, I knew we would lose this game.
What's left to say? With one game to go, Notre Dame Nation has already turned the page. Jimmy and Golden are as good as gone, and Charlie Weis is a dead man walking. The real driver of the ND story now is not Stanford (we'll get crushed), or even what embarrassing bowl bid the Irish will accept (skip the bowls, stay home, let the pain of this unmitigated disaster sink in, and learn from it). No, now the question is: Who will lead the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame?
Urban Meyer was quick to stand up and say that he doesn't want the job. That's easy to do when you know you'll never get the offer. The underhanded way he played ND five years ago, using Notre Dame as a bargaining chip to secure his job at Florida, isn't forgotten. For those ND fans longing for the ethically challenged Florida coach to ride into South Bend, I suggest you move on. Ain't gonna happen, and it isn't his choice.
Odds are that Brian Kelly, the east coast Irishman with a Catholic college education and a startlingly good record of winning, will be the next head coach of Notre Dame. But whomever AD Swarbrick decides on, please make it quick and painless. Your model should be Faust-to-Holtz, rather than the Davie-to-O'Leary-to-Willingham, or Willingham-to-who-wants-it-no-one-does-to Weis model. Quick, clean, and to the point. And let's let the dawn of a new Irish day begin.