I wrote this up quickly in response to the debotchery that was last night’s ND-USC game, and in response to Pat Forde’s article here: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=3734499&sportCat=ncf
This isn’t everything. A lot more needs to be done, but these are things that I think are essential. Let’s be honest, though. It’s not in the best situation right now. I would say worse, but I honestly don’t think it’s completely hopeless. But something needs to be done. Here are a few thoughts that I have:
I. Don’t fire Charlie
I’ve waivered on this decision a lot. Sometimes I think he needs to go, but other times I think he needs to stay. The enormous pressure over Notre Dame is overwhelming him. No, the team has been crappy these past two years. Really crappy. If Charlie goes, who is going to replace him? What coach will want to come to South Bend right now? There’s too much pressure to succeed in a short amount of time. Any other school in the nation has less pressure. Literally.
II. Learn how to win
So many times, ND just can’t seem to get a game together. I think this is due to the fact that they aren’t confident. When Quinn was around, they had that confidence. They knew that they were going to come in and take care of business. Since then, they have been really unsure of themselves. I’ve felt it as a fan, and I know that they felt it as players. I think they just need to get over it and go out there and clobber the hell out of someone. If they can get a nice string of games together, or beat someone like USC, then they’ll be back soon enough. They can’t lose games like that one against Pitt anymore. That one just ruined any sort of confidence they had.
III. Lower the academic standards
The academic standards as Notre Dame are extraordinarily high. This may have been alright in the past, but now, these standards are hurting our recruiting. Kids that are good players but not necessarily 4.0 students won’t go because they won’t be accepted. In other words, by lowering their standards they allow the most talented athletes the opportunity to play at Notre Dame that might not be the smartest kid on the block.
IV. Join a conference
This is a big one, in that it’s something that would have huge implications. We would lose our national television coverage for all home games on NBC. We would have to share any money we would make when we go to bowl games. However, overall the move would be good. It would give us actual bowl tie-ins. We would have the benefit of playing a conference schedule. If we were to join a conference, it would have to be the Big Ten, hands down. The Big Ten needs another team to be able to have a conference championship, and they have to add a team from a state when there is already a Big Ten team. Notre Dame would be the prefect choice. Not only would it add another historically great team to the conference, but it adds a legitimacy to the conference that hasn’t been there in a recent years. Notre Dame benefits by joining a conference in which it already plays three teams annually (Michigan, Mich. St, Purdue) and it’s SOS gets little easier by having to play teams that just aren’t that good (IU and Illinois for example). They have already been in negotiations in the past, as well. This does mean, though, that they would have to leave the Big East conference in every other sport that they play. The only downside is that the Big East has better basketball right now than the Big Ten.
V. Get Lou Holtz to shut the hell up about us winning a national championship next year.
They have enough pressure from sports anchors and writers. They don’t need you adding more. You are a great coach, but quit saying that.
I think that’s it for now.
Bring on the debate.