Notre Dame Loses to No. 16 Stanford: Why Can't the Irish Win?

Jeremy Lookabaugh Correspondent ISeptember 26, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Jonas Gray #25 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on September 25, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 37-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Stanford beats Notre Dame 37-14

The historic Notre Dame football program lost its third-straight game, after the No. 16 Stanford Cardinals went into South Bend and beat the Irish 37-14. 

"Not making excuses for our kids," head coach Brian Kelly said. "But we played four really good football teams, physical teams, and our kids battled every week and we came up short this week. But they're not going anywhere. They're going to be back next week, and they're going to strap it back up and fight. And we're going to build this program to where it needs to be". 

The Stanford defense held the Irish to 201 total yards in taking a 34-6 lead before Notre Dame added 150 yards in garbage time. 

Quarterback Dayne Crist didn't get much help offensively, but he wasn't impressive either. He went 15-for-30 for 153 yards after Owen Marecic returned a interception 20 yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a commanding lead late in the fourth quarter. 

Notre Dame's Rich History 

The Notre Dame football program has won 11 National Championships and produced more All-Americans than any other Football Bowl Subdivision school. In addition, seven Fighting Irish football players have won the Heisman Trophy. 

Notre Dame has an all-time record of 837-291-42. They are third in the history of division I college football in wins behind only Michigan and Texas. 

1988 Fighting Irish 

Notre Dame has not won a National Championship since 1988, when they went 12-0 and defeated West Virginia. 

That year, Lou Holtz led an Irish team who many consider the best college football team ever assembled. 

They won by double-digits in 10 out of the 12 games they played. They defeated the No. 1, 2, and 3 teams in the country when they were set to play them. 

What they are known for most is its victory over the Miami Hurricanes. It was the Hurricanes first loss in 36 games. 

Why the Collapse 

The Irish still have one of the top fan bases in college football, but that is because of its rich tradition. 

Winning is the most important in any sport, and anywhere, but in South Bend it is the only the way of life. 

But the Irish are just not winning. They went through Tyrone Willingham who went 21-15 in three seasons, before he was let go. 

Then Charlie Weiss was suppose to be the savior of the Irish program, but he didn't fair well either. He went 35-27 in five seasons, and is now back in the NFL as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Now it is Brian Kelly's turn. He brought the Cincinnati Bearcats into the national spotlight, winning  Big East championships, as well as appearances in BCS bowl games. 

However, Kelly's spread offense is not producing through four games this season. The Irish are 1-3 and are struggling in all areas of play. 

The Irish have won just one bowl game since 1995. That does not cut it for this historic football program. 

Gaining Recruits 

The Irish are not getting the big-name recruits like they use too. Most five-star high players are going elsewhere. 

It is not the program that it use to be. Teams such as: Texas, Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Nebraska, etc, are seemingly more attractive places to play college football. 

Future in South Bend 

Notre Dame is one of the greatest players to watch a football game, and at one point it was the best place to play. 

As a football independent, the Irish play some tough non-conference games, and it is the same this year.

It will take some time for the Irish to get back to national prominence, to a way that fans were used too.

It is hard to see the Irish winning more than six games during the 2010 season. They still play Utah and USC. Its next two opponents are Boston College and Pittsburgh and they are no pushover either.

Notre needs to be good for college football. They are a great program, with tremendous expectations. Those high standards are just not justified.  

Notre Dame is just an average football team, once Kelly gets some time to develop his system, the Irish will start to win. Hopefully, that is sooner rather than later. 


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