Notre Dame: Is The Mystique Gone

Joseph MoroniContributor IDecember 1, 2009

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis is escorted off the field after their loss to the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Bob Davie,Tyrone Willingham, and now Charlie Weis. The last three coaches at the University of Notre Dame has failed to bring the fighting Irish back to the promised land. For many, especially long time Irish fans, it is almost always the coaches that get blamed for not meeting expectations. The question in my mind is whether or not the expectations placed on the Irish are realistic in the scheme of college football today.

Let's for the sake of argument use a Hollywood example to illustrate what Notre Dame used to be. In the movie Rudy, the main character grows up going to Catholic school in the suburbs of Chicago, his entire family are huge Notre Dame fans, and they're also working class. Rudy grows up his entire life dreaming of one day putting on that shiny gold helmet, and that blue jersey and running out the tunnel into Notre Dame Stadium.

These are the dreams of a completely different generation of football players. Throughout the history of college football Notre Dame was not only the most famous program, but also one of the most successful. Notre Dame football began to take on a mythical sheen. In the 50s and 60s and even in the 70s, Notre Dame was the place to go for any player on the national stage, they had national TV rights, a huge following, and every year had a competitive team.

But things in college football have changed, mystique isn't as important as it was when the likes of Knute Rockne,Johnny Latner,and even Tim Brown were playing. Kids just simply do not dream of playing for the Irish anymore. The era of Catholic kids growing up with Catholic education, and watching Notre Dame every Saturday just isn't realistic anymore. Sure, the games are on TV, but who is really watching.

College football is a new business these days, and it has changed a lot even since the Irish's last national championship in 1988. Teams like Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and USC are the models that the university administration should look at. While they may not have started as great programs, they find themselves as the premier destination for top recruits in the country. This is mostly due to the strength of their program, which was built up over time. After the last national championship the administration has acted like they don't need to build upon anything anymore.

My advice to the administration is to not just go out there and hire another big-name coach, what you need to do is hire someone that knows how to build a program for example , Cincinnati Coach Brian Kelly, who has helped Cincinnati become a top-five program and have a chance at a BCS bowl this season. Another candidate worthfdsdsxzsxz looking into is TCU coach Gary Patterson. Although it is unlikely that either of these coaches will leave their jobs, in his coaches that have experience building a program would do wonders.