Notre Dame Loses More Than a Game to Syracuse

Clashmore MikeCorrespondent INovember 23, 2008

I can barely bring myself to sit at this keyboard and comment on what I witnessed yesterday.

I can say that my family has a devotion to the University of Notre Dame that goes back to my father who, as a boy sitting in his Catholic grade school in a small town in northwest Iowa, would join his fellow classmates in a prayer for an Irish victory every Friday in the fall.

That family devotion turned into something more later in life, and I have been privileged to attend, but for perhaps a half-dozen or so, every game in Notre Dame Stadium since 1971.

I’ve seen my share of heartbreaking losses…games in which the stakes were (seemingly) much higher.

The 58-7 humiliation at the hands of Jimmy Johnson’s Miami Hurricanes, and the 1993 loss to Boston College are the two that stand out the most.

There have been others, of course, and they have come far more frequently in the last decade. But at least when the Hurricanes were running up the score, we knew there was a regime change coming.

As for the BC loss, for someone with the ability to see the long view, that was the game that broke the hearts and spirit of Notre Dame, and we haven’t quite been right since then.

But now we have to face this loss to Syracuse. For me, on one of the most bitterly cold game days I’ve ever sat through, came the most bitter loss as well.

You might counter by saying I’m wrong…that the two losses I mentioned above were worse. That we are rebuilding. That the talent is young and inexperienced. Whatever.

I will respectfully disagree.

Coach Weis, you’ve lost me. I’ve defended you here and other places. The vast majority of the criticism that has come your way has been hateful, bigoted, mean-spirited, and uncalled for. But here, after yesterday, you lost me.

You can clearly recruit, and whoever follows you will not inherit the historically bare cupboard you did when you took over.

You can clearly coach offense in the NFL. But as others have discovered before you, there is a difference between coaching mature NFL talent who have reached their highest potential in the game, and developing talent in the college game.

You are a good man. A Notre Dame man. And for those who know what that means, that is high praise indeed. You came when Our Lady’s school was under siege and silenced her critics. For that we will always be grateful.

For all these reasons it pains me to say this. You lost us, Coach. And worse, it looks like you lost your team.

It is time to go.