While many fans looked at the Michigan game as a 'must win"—and in retrospect, given the recruits at the game and the way the team and fans reacted, it was—Michigan State has now become an equally important game to the maturity and psyche of this Notre Dame team.
Notre Dame didn't overwhelm anyone in weeks one or two. Instead, we looked like a team that had made significant improvement from the Keystone Cops performance of last year, but that improvement only gets us to good. Now we're a good team, which puts us in the same category of about 40 or 50 other teams around the country.
No one comes to Notre Dame to be good.
That's Davieham thinking.
Good is unacceptable.
Mediocrity is unacceptable.
It's time for this team to put the old paradigm and excuses behind and grow up. I don't mean that in a negative sense, but this is still a very, very young team...they simply can't play like it anymore. It's time to get on with gettin' on with being great, and that means moving your mental frame of what's acceptable.
It's not acceptable anymore to tackle poorly. It's not acceptable anymore for wide receivers to run lazy patterns or not block. It's not acceptable anymore to not finish blocks or get to the next level to spring a longer run. It's not acceptable anymore to miss holes.
The Irish are at a mental tipping point.
It's a simple choice.
They can either choose to shift their entire frame or perspective of what great, good, and poor play look like—or they can accept mediocrity.
When you reframe your perspective on what's good, what was good in the past becomes poor play. Your former good is now the bare minimum you should expect from yourself, and your former great becomes the norm. In other words, what "was" great play for you previously is simply how things should be.
Great then becomes truly exceptional play. Your good play in weeks one and two should be the worst-case scenario if all goes wrong.
It's time to grow up. Right now this team seems impressed with itself when it makes great plays. That's a fun and exciting place to be, but if this team truly wants to be exceptional this year and next, it has to power through this transition phase of self-discovery and become what it will be in the future, right now.
This team is at the doorstep. It can either knock the muthaf door down and proclaim itself a true contender, or it can wait for someone to open it for them.
And wait. And wait. And wait.
And then one day talk about what could have been if...
This team has to expect greatness. Nothing else can be acceptable.
Greatness is livin'.
Mediocrity is slow, painful death.
Get you mad, you SOBs, get mad.