The following post was written by Robert Miller.
As a 2000 Notre Dame alum and avid college football fan, all I have been hearing since Notre Dame lost to Navy is that Charlie Weis should be fired. It is easy to let emotions cloud judgment but a level-headed approach suggests a different outcome.
The following are reasons why he should NOTbe fired:
- The next coach will do no better because recruiting is what separates BCS contenders from non-contenders. Weis does not have the players to do any better than he is doing. The defense is average at best and is severely lacking speed and size. The offensive skill players are NFL caliber but the o-line is also average; otherwise the Irish running backs would have had a field day against the undersized Navy defense.
- The south has access to disproportionate amount of the talent which makes it difficult for old-school northern powerhouses (e.g., Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame) to compete in recruiting with teams from the south. The objective measure of talent is that a southern or southwestern team has won the BCS championship the last six years (i.e., SEC, Big 12 South, and USC). The last time a northern powerhouse won was when Ohio State beat Miami in double overtime and the only other northern team to win a BCS championship is Nebraska. The trend of the south dominating the north begs several questions. Why would a large number of top recruits come to freezing South Bend when they can go to sunny USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Florida, or anywhere else in the south to southwest? Why would Saban, Meyer, and all other “genius” coaches go south instead of north? Why has Bob Stoops not come to ND? The answer is they can get better talent in the south. The SEC is highly competitive so you would think coaches would not want to coach there, but they continue to choose highly competitive southern jobs over less competitive northern jobs.
- Weis needs more time to get better Irish defensive recruits. Notre Dame’s defense is like Tecmo Bowl on Sega Genesis. If you call the other team’s play then you sack them for a 10 yard loss; otherwise Dan Marino throws a 100 yard TD pass to Mark Clayton. The Irish defense has been bad all year and the only way to improve it is to get better talent. Stealing Manti Te’o from USC last year was a start but the Irish need to get a greater volume of top defensive players including a pair of studs on the defensive line that can attack opposing quarterbacks and an uber-fast safety to slow down opposing running backs.
- Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate are more likely to stay for their senior seasons if Charlie Weis remains the play caller because both have flourished in his system. Both want to finish strong and get Notre Dame back to a BCS game and having Weis on board gives them the best chance to do that. Further, they do not need another reason to leave after watching Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, and Sam Bradford have average senior seasons while Mark Sanchez and Percy Harvin are getting valuable experiences in the NFL.
- Buying out Weis’ remaining salary can only facilitate rising tuition costs for a school that is on pace to charge a million dollars for a four year degree by the year 2035. In addition, Notre Dame was one of a few schools to raise football ticket prices in 2009 after the country’s economic meltdown. Notre Dame should at least let Weis complete his original six-year contract that had him coaching through the 2010 season.
- Notre Dame will beat Pittsburgh this weekend despite Dion Lewis running all over the Irish defense. Clausen, Tate, and Floyd are on a mission for redemption after a devastating Navy loss. Further, the Irish can still qualify for the Gator Bowl which is where they belong anyway because a BCS Bowl-caliber team like Texas, TCU, or Georgia Tech would have smoked ND’s defense.
In sum, any coach is going to struggle to meet expectations at Notre Dame. What’s more, reasons 1-3 can be applied to Rich Rodriguez and Michigan. Fans and alums of northern schools should realize that their football team’s lack of success is a result of bigger forces (e.g., access to talent) than their team’s coach.