Hi, I'm Weis Gipper, and I'm a Charlie Weis apologist! For almost four seasons I've watched Weis lead the Fighting Irish to almost the top of the mountain to the pits of hell. I have made countless and repeatedly excuses as to why you should remain as coach: 1.) First two seasons at the helm leading the Irish to BCS Bowl appearances, and 2.) Superb recruiting classes.
After Saturday's 24-23 loss to then 2-8 Syracuse, I've decided to put down and stop drinking the Weis Kool-Aid.
At the beginning of his tenure, Charlie Weis was shattering Notre Dame records left and right. Unfortunately he's still making the Irish record books for all the wrong reasons.
After Saturday's debacle, Weis' squad became the first Notre Dame team to lose to an eight loss opponent EVER in Fighting Irish Football history! And to top that off, the Irish's 14 loss total in two years is the most EVER in that time frame. If you think that is bad, just wait for this doozie.
Notre Dame is now currently tied with Texas for second in all-time wins in college football. After this weekend, the Irish will be in third place, and it will most likely fall down further with others creeping up very slowly. Nebraska is nipping on the Irish's heels; and excuse me for puking in my mouth, but Ohio State could surpass ND in a few short years if we don't nip this thing in the bud soon.
Notre Dame has been the pinnacle of college football with all of its steep tradition, winning teams, winning coaches, Heisman Trophy winners, and of course their National Championships. We Are ND, the New York Yankees of college football, right? Lately the Fighting Irish have become the laughing stock of the Football Bowl Subdivision. Every fan, student, and alum are asking themselves, "How can Notre Dame become a consistent power in College Football?"
The Board of Trustees, the Administration, and the Athletic Director need to sit down and hammer this out now. First off, they need to address their priorities. Do they want to succeed in football, or do they want to become the lovable losers like the Chicago Cubs? Just as Lou Holtz said on ESPN Saturday night, does ND want to be a 6-6, 7-5 team, or do they want to contend for National Championships? Just tell us, so we can move on.
Once they have established the purpose of the football program, next they need to set up backup plans and have lists of what and who is going to lead them to this next level. We've already heard and seen on national television of Jack Swarbrick's endorsement of Charlie Weis. Does that necessarily mean he actually believes that? Not sure, because look what San Diego State has done with Chuck Long.
A few weeks ago, SDSU's athletic director said they Chuck Long is their guy and will be remaining as the Aztecs head coach. What others didn't know is that the AD and the university president spoke behind closed doors to see if they could make this coaching change a reality by getting influential donors and alumnus to cough up the cash and buyout Long's contract. On Saturday Long was dropped the bomb, and yesterday it became official.
Can Notre Dame pull off such a thing? Definitely. Will they? Probably not. Why? Well there are several reasons. First is the recruiting coup that they going for them. If a coaching change is made before the National Signing Day, most of the Irish recruits will decide to go elsewhere. Another reason, which I stated a few weeks ago, and I'm regretting saying it, is that we cannot forget what Weis did his first two seasons. But if we took a step back and looked at the bigger picture, Weis is just not cutting it here.
If, and I mean, if Notre Dame decides to go a different direction with their coach, Swarbrick, the BOT and the administration need to have a list on hand now. They also need to have the cash flow to make this happen, and if many of the so-called angry Sorin Society members are upset as they proclaim to be from several of the message boards, then that should not be a problem.
The hard question that many, including myself, have been whacking our brains out is who can we get to coach the Fighting Irish? Forget your pipe dreams of getting Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops here to South Bend. They have it made at both Florida and Oklahoma, respectively. Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Haven't we already had enough of the NFL mentality? Then who?
Here's a short list of three names that could be a possability and a stretch, but would be a temptation if offered:
1.) Brian Kelly (Cincinnati)
In only his second full season with the Bearcats, Kelly is 12th among active FBS coaches in wins. With a win this Saturday against the Syracuse Orange, Cincinnati will have won the Big East Conference and will be slated to play in the Orange Bowl.
Before taking over the Bearcats, Kelly turned around a Central Michigan team from a MAC doormat to the leaders of the pack. And even before that, he guided Grand Valley State to two National Championships in Division II. With the Lakers, he never finished lower than third in their conference standings.
2.) Chris Petersen (Boise State)
In almost three full seasons, Petersen has guided Boise State to a 34-3 record and two bowl games, including a improbable Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. He is considered one of the most innovative offensive minds in college football today.
Petersen's coaching lineage started at Pittsburgh as a quarterbacks coach. He helped with the progression of former Panthers great Alex Van Pelt. Petersen moved back to the West Coast and was the QB coach at Portland State and then the receivers coach at Oregon before being Dan Hawkins' offensive coordinator of the Broncos.
3.) Mike Leach (Texas Tech)
You know you're a hot commodity when they have a website to petition for Texas Tech to keep Mike Leach (http://www.keepmikeleachattech.com). Also another one of the most innovative offensive minds of the college game, Leach has quite a list of accomplishments while leading the Red Raiders:
8 consecutive winning seasons
8 consecutive bowl appearances
6 consecutive eight-win seasons
3 nine-win seasons
5 bowl wins (most by any individual coach in the history of the program)
3 seasons completed with team ranked in the Top 25
15–9 record against in-state conference rivals Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M
44–10 record at Jones AT&T Stadium
Before his tenure in Lubbock, Leach was the offensive coordinator for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. All he did was guide the Sooners offense from 11th in the Big 12 conference in 1998 to first in 1999, and 101st in the NCAA to 11th! He was the offensive coordinator at Kentucky before his stop in Norman, where he set 41 Southeastern Conference Records and 6 NCAA records with the Wildcats.
Leach got his first offensive coordinator gig under Hal Mumme at Division II giant Valdosta State (Georgia). VSU's record during Leach's tenure was 40-17-1 with three National Championship appearances and one title.
The time is ticking to get the wheels in motion for Notre Dame to make some hard decisons. Do they want to be mediocre with some top 25 finishes scattered every five years, or do they want to compete with the big boys of college football. That's the real million dollar question.