Blame Game Not the Answer for Notre Dame

Notre Dame - Michigan
Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (21) celebrates after a touchdown in the third quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Trailing 17-13 with nearly two minutes to go in the first half, Notre Dame held the ball at midfield after a 26-yard kickoff scamper by running back George Atkinson and aided by an additional 15-yard personal foul penalty on Michigan defensive back, Dymonte Thomas.  The Fighting Irish possessed a golden opportunity to strike a demoralizing blow against the Wolverines right as the half drew to a close.  Notre Dame senior quarterback Tommy Rees took the snap, rolled out of the pocket and to his left, threw against his body into coverage and watched as his pass fell perfectly into the hands of Michigan defensive back Blake Countess, who then returned the interception 30-yards up field to the Irish 23-yard line.  Four plays later a demoralizing blow was indeed struck, with Michigan increasing its lead 27-13 as the last seconds of the first half ticked off the clock.

The same ol’ Turnover Tommy, they say.

As Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly stated to the media, “We did that [win games] last year on the back of our defense.  I just felt like this was one of those nights where our offense had to bail out our defense.”

The Notre Dame offense, particularly Tommy Rees, is an easy target if your desire is to play the blame game.  But is that where finger-pointing should really be directed?  The Rees-led Irish offense piled on 410 total yards against the Wolverine defense, having only amassed 239 yards the previous year.  The Notre Dame offensive line also showed significant improvement, grinding out 5.1 yards per carry on the ground as opposed to the 3.0 yards per carry average in 2012.  While critics have been quick to point out the offense only rushed the ball 19 times, the low number is due to Notre Dame trailing 10-0 within the first eight minutes of the game and playing catch up the rest of the evening, having never led once in the contest.

There were moments of gallantry on the offensive side of the ball as well, with senior captain T.J. Jones refusing to stay on the sidelines after hurting both shoulders in-game – one of which was sprained – hauling in 9 receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown in the process.  All of the gains in offensive production were achieved despite starting quarterback Everett Golson being dismissed and both starting running backs in Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood, as well as number one tight end in the country, Tyler Eifert, leaving due to the NFL or graduation.

Notre Dame’s offense was never intended to do the heavy lifting this season – its purpose was to manage the game in a relief role to Notre Dame’s talented defense.  The loss of former defensive stars Manti Te’o, Danny Spond and Zeke Motta was difficult, but armed with arguably the best defensive line in the nation – and coupled with three senior linebackers and a talented, proven secondary with depth – one has to wonder why all eyes are on Rees and not the real disappointment from Saturday.

The Fighting Irish defense was essentially blown off the field, channeling defensive performances from the Weis era.  A defensive unit that returned eight starters and only surrendered 12 points per game in 2012 more than tripled that number, allowing 41 points against Michigan.  Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner earned a quarterback rating of 119.1 against the Irish defense, a complete 180 from the 31.6 passer rating Heisman contender Denard Robinson was held to in 2012.  A defense that created six turnovers one year ago created only one in Ann Arbor.  And a secondary that ranked 16th nationally in pass efficiency in 2012 allowed one Michigan wide receiver, Jeremy Gallon, to catch 8 passes for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns.

What were the critics saying about Rees again?

While easy to do after a loss, it’s important to keep in mind that finger-pointing and assigning grades in the blame department will do nothing to improve Notre Dame’s level of play or keep this past Saturday in perspective.  Notre Dame went on the road, in primetime, and lost to a talented and ranked Michigan football team.  While expectations were high after a national championship appearance, and fans may not wish to hear it, the truth is the 2013 Notre Dame football team was never going to go undefeated en route to another BCS Championship appearance.  What it is capable of doing – and is still on track to do – is having an elite season.  Notre Dame’s offense is littered with raw but talented and capable youth.  The Fighting Irish defense has underperformed to date but, unlike the Weis years, it is not from a lack of skill.  This defense can play better, and with a defensive coaching staff only one season removed from winning big on the award circuit, it will improve.

Perhaps most importantly of all, a once imposing football slate is starting to lose its intimidation factor.  Notre Dame’s next opponent, Purdue, is on the verge of a disastrous season only two weeks into its schedule.  After enduring a humiliating blowout loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Bearcats, 42-7, Purdue was taken to the wire and nearly defeated by Division I FCS Indiana State, 20-14.  Michigan State’s offensive woes from 2012 have haunted them into 2013, struggling in week one against a Western Michigan University squad that lost to Nicholls St. and eking by South Florida with only 265 yards of total offense.  And USC fell in a stunner to Washington State, 10-7, scoring the least amount of points against Wazzu in 72 years and only mustering an 8-yard pass as the longest throw of the day.

An elite caliber season remains within Notre Dame’s grasp.  The Fighting Irish can get there, not as two separate offensive and defensive units but as one unified team.

Scott Janssen is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has authored several nationally-featured articles as well as co-founded a nationally-featured non-profit organization. In his spare time he takes his NCAA Football ’13 online dynasty way too seriously and alienates those around him by discussing football 24 hours a day. Scott can be reached at

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  1. JC,

    If Zaire plays at all, then he should be considered the #2 QB and get all the significant mop-up snaps the rest of the season. (If you’re going to forgo a redshirt, then make it count!) AH should then be considered our #3 QB. IF TR goes down for the season, and BK doesn’t think Zaire can lead the team consistently, then perhaps AH goes from #3 to #1 for the remainder of the games. Luke Massa seems to be our emergency QB, which is fine. After all, the kid had a decent prep career as a QB.

    Here’s hoping TR plays within himself and lets the team carry him. Here’s hoping AH only sees mop-up minutes and does well in them. Here’s hoping Luke Massa gets in a game or two to go out in style. Here’s hoping Malik Zaire keeps a year of eligibility because our other 3 QBs do their jobs. But if we see Zaire, then let’s really get a good look and hope he shines!

    Go Irish!

    Beat the Boilermakers!

  2. Robby,

    Interesting, BK said Zaire might play this weekend. I’ll stop right there before Shaz takes a hammer to my 100% Irish fingers. Please Shaz not the writing hand.

  3. We always need a provocateur every now again, right JC? 😉

    As for TR. I’m half and half on him. That makes me unpopular with both extremes of the TR spectrum. He’s a limited athlete and prone to too many TOs. True. But he’s also a bright kid who will make a heck of a coach one day (I think TR’s dad is a head football coach). Plus, he has won some big games for us last year and in the past. Right now, he’s the best we have. But I’m with you on this point. If the O is still lackluster, inefficient in the redzone, and TR is turning the ball over left and right, well, at that point the season is probably a disaster and we should start building toward next season. Play the young guys and let’s see what we have!

    What do you say, JC, Shaz, other ND brethren?

  4. JC,

    BK needs to wait a bit before pulling the trigger on Zaire and giving up a year of eligibility. True, TR is TR. You know what you’re going to get with him, good and bad. If the D returns to last year’s level, we can win with TR. I believe that. However, he simply can’t make stupid plays. For that, you might as well let your young QB gain some experience. TR is done after this season anyway.

    As for “Mr. Sarcasm”, “Ron” of multiple personality fame on here, the proof is in the pudding. Several recruits pointed out how turned off they were by BK contemplating taking the Philly job. If that’s true of recruits, how much more so of his own players, “Ron”. The proof is in the pudding also in as much as how unfocused and down the team looked. That needs explaining. Perhaps for you, “Ron”, unicorns or ancient aliens invading the Irish lockers are an explanation. As for me, I’ll go with more real-world explanations, such as a team not properly focused due to poor preparation.

    As for manuals, “Ron”, perhaps it’s the same manual BK used when he divided his team between his players and the others. Make no mistake, “Ron,” if it hadn’t been for T’eo and other senior leaders being bigger men than BK that locker room would’ve split in two and the season could’ve been over before it started. The manual I know says a house divided against itself cannot stand. BK did a good job dividing his house with his divisive “my players vs. the other guy’s” discourse. It was the players who were big enough to move on and stay united. Perhaps BK does need a common sense manual, “Ron”.

    Of course, he can just get “Ron” to make excuses for him and to try to belittle those who don’t want to drink the cool aide.

    “Stay classy!” (I love how “Ron” uses that as his catch phrase even as he smirks at everyone else. I guess hypocrisy runs deep in the “Ron” household and among his fellow Bama or Ohio St. or whatever team he really roots for as he comes on here trying to stir us up against each other. I guess sad trolls need to do that!)

    1. Robby,

      Surely you jest? Hahahaha! Yes indeed, another dynamic year at We are all angels without a provocateur among us? Hahahaha!


  5. If there is a struggle against mighty Purdue on either side of the ball I am booking tickets to Fairbanks Alaska for the Ice Snow bowl which is where we may be playing. I do think if the fair hair wonder boy struggles try AH for some extended play. It can’t be a whole lot worse. First team D’ers, if they don’t figure out how to play then start looking at backups. If the first string haven’t the desire get somebody who wants to play. I like genuine effort versus those who have lost some desire and/or won’t step up.

    Blow up the boilermakers
    Go Irish

    1. Who would they play in the Ice Snow Bowl? Does the SEC have a tie in as well. Could be an advantage with the cold weather.

  6. fxm,

    They were hanging out with Mike Tomlin, Todd Haley, Dick LeBeau, and the other Stillers coaches.

    Next year we’re going to feel all the top-notch D recruits we’ve lost (for whatever reason) the last 2 recruiting cycles: Darby, Shepherd, Anzalone, Vanderdoes, etc.

    1. SteelFanRob,

      Do you think BK will live up to his new standard: “if your throwing interceptions you won’t be playing?” Or was it merely motivational fluff-n-puff?

      Amen on the culmination of top recruit losses to date, that can not be replaced over night! Not looking forward to facing the unvarnished truth on that issue. Mercy Please!

      1. JC,

        I’ve given up on trying to psychoanalyze BK. I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that this guy didn’t handle the T’eo situation well in house before the news broke nationally AND compounded that error with his flirtation with the Eagles. That also didn’t do wonders for his team before the NC game. The ND team that showed up to play Bama was not the same team that played all season. It showed in how T’eo played and the rest of the D. I hope BK gets to make amends for his handling of this team before and during the title game.

        Diaco is another one who has apparently forgotten how to coach. He didn’t make any adjustments against Bama, but who knows if they would’ve done any good, and he continues that trend into this season. Piss poor job by him and his assistants.

        The loss of so much talent on D will hurt the next few season. That’s why we really need to make a push for stud DE Lorenzo Carter. We’re also going to have to get a few top DB and LB recruits the next 2 recruiting cycles.

      2. Amen SteelfanRob,

        I’m with you on Te’o, Eagles, NC game and I don’t mind staying with TR as long as we are winning. 2 Turnovers per game is an Achilles’Heel we need not revist.

        Further, Zaire is the future of this program, there is no sane reason not to allow mop-up duty when available. We cannot afford another shock of Golson not returning for some strange additional reason. If Zaire does not get any experience this year and Golson is not back. Well, I surely hope we never reach that dilemma. Our track record with QB retention to date, is dismal at best.

      3. I’m guessing he didn’t have the manual on how to deal with a star linebacker having an Internet relationship with a girl/guy Who then fakes her/his death only to arise from said death and call the stud linebacker.

        No idea why he didn’t consult of all us for advice because clearly we have all the answers.

  7. I think we all would have been very frustrated but happier to lose 17 – 13 instead of having our Defense humiliated. We could accept the offense being similar to last year. Bute, it makes you ill to think, “what happens next year without Tuitt and Nix.” And it makes you wonder what transpired over the spring and summer where the defense somehow clearly fell apart? Where were our coaches?

  8. I hope we run the ball against Purdue which we should have done against
    Michigan. To panic when down 10-0 and quit running is pathetic when the
    defense was so uninspired.

  9. diaco gave up 40 pts to bama and 40 pts to michigan, its clear he is a hard ass but no defensive genius, without manti as leader on defense, we will need luck,and players playing beyond the skills of their coaches, tj jones should have a team meeting and make it clear, its up to the team, not its advisors to win. semper fi

      1. Silly me.. How could I forget the Rocket and Lou!

        And since Lou is sleeping at Rockets house, they could car-pool.

  10. Maybe Kelly doesn’t understand how much we HATE Michigan. I just didn’t see the preparation for this game on Saturday. And absolutely no adjustments to counter Gardner. That was the most disappointing aspect of this game. If football game planning is like a chess game, then Hoke and his coaches were Bobby Fisher and Kelly et al was like my 11 year old son. And he’s not real good at chess.

      1. Tough question.

        It’s clear bj is a hard ass, but he’s no defensive genius without manti.

        He will need luck and players playing beyond the skills of their coaches, because it’s up to the team, not it’s advisors to win.

  11. Brian Kelly does not have a killer instinct. Did Jack Swarbrick not learn from Kevin White’s mistake of giving a head coach a contract extension too soon? If this is truly Brian Kelly’s dream job, he will not leave no matter what!

  12. Not blaming but as a fan for 53 years my expectations for this program are much higher than the performance I watched last Saturday night. When you listen to elite coaches talk about studying tendancies and exploiting weaknesses and then teaching their players to key on tendancies and dominate based on what they practice during the week, I just don’t see ND moving in that direction. I expected to see dominating play from the defense this year and I was disappointed that it appears that ND is still very far from that standard. They talk about players with high football iq’s. ND has some of the most intelligent student athletes in the country. I don’t see that intelligence on display on the football field.

  13. good article Scott. I think that most successful organisms, families,
    corporations, work and social groups focus on Fixing the Problem, not Fixing the Blame. And that is what the coaches will do going forward.

    I also think that what is crucial for Notre Dame is to get better as a team, and not prejudge what is or is not an “elite” season. As we saw in 2012, if the team improves on a weekly basis, the record, first, and the perception (which is less useful than the record) will both improve.

    If there is one thing that we can learn from 2011 and 2012 is that this coaching staff improves its team after the first two weeks. It’s more likely than not that this team will do that.

    Fans look backward, coaches and players look forward.

      1. Duranko — I hope you’re right. To me, that would be a successful season. However, I just don’t see it happening (going 9-1 the rest of the way). If we assume that one loss is at Stanford, that means they beat Oklahoma, USC, Michigan State at home; Arizona State on a neutral field and at BYU. I’m assuming they beat Pitt (which is a large assumption being that BK has struggled to beat Pitt every time he’s played them), Purdue, Navy & Air Force.

        That won’t happen unless the defense steps up and TR doesn’t improve his play at QB. Watching them Saturday was like watching the 2011 again. The defense gave up too many big plays. Secondary couldn’t locate the ball and couldn’t tackle people once they caught the ball. TR continuing to dink and dunk the ball, not to mention him doing the “chuck and duck”. Still forcing the ball when he shouldn’t. We can live with his lack of athleticism We can’t live with his lack of intelligence when he’s on the field.

        Again, I hope you’re right. However, I just can’t see it. We’ll soon find out.

  14. they have no confidence. they should have been grinding it out on the ground after being down 10 pts. instead its russian roulette with a guy that is not a bcs calibre quarterback. he cant run and he cant trow. start malik and maybe we have a future. and the defense was a total disaster. this smells more and more like charlie weiss part 2 to me. who is the team leader? they got to believe in him. they dont believe in kelly.

  15. There are few things in life that I hate more than losing to Michigan.

    True, the defense deserves plenty of blame for the outcome of the game, but let’s not be so quick to absolve Tommy Turnover. His INT at the end of the 1st half was horrible. You have to protect the football better in that situation. It’s 2nd and 10, just throw it away. Even if we have to punt, that’s better than what happened, we’d still only be down 7 going into the half. You don’t have to force a throw rolling to your left in that situation, it’s not the same as being down 7 at the end of the game.

    Did we move the ball? Yes. But you have to actually score points, especially in the red zone. After Niklas’ TD, we had 3 more possessions- on the first (down 14) we stall out at the 17 Yd line and turn it over on downs. On the second (down only 7 thanks to Tuitt), we get to the Michigan 23, 3rd and 8, Rees apparently doesn’t see a wide open TJ Jones coming across the middle for an easy 1st down, and instead tries to force it to Daniels, and should have been intercepted- we get a field goal instead of evening the game at 34. Finally, the desperation drive, down 14 again, we get all the way to the 6 yd line, and Rees tries to force a ball on 1st Down! Just throw it away if it isn’t there!

    Going back to 2011, Rees has way too many INTs on 1st or 2nd down. I understand if you’re down to 4th down and it’s do or die time, but stop forcing throws that aren’t there! (See the Champs Sports Bowl against Florida State- horrible throw on 1st down into double coverage when we were driving to win the game)

    1. I understand your points and where you’re coming from. But I look at it like this: I have greater leniency toward someone who is limited athletically but plays above it. Rees will never be an elite college QB, but he plays far above his skill level. I’m less likely to criticize a guy like Rees than a defensive line unit heralded as the best in the nation that gives up 41 points and gets torched by a quarterback-turned wide receiver-turned quarterback.

      Rees isn’t supposed to win us games – our defense is.

      1. Scott can you tell me if BK took over the play calling when we went down 10-0 as it appeared on TV. If so then as usual from his past DNA he has once again gone PANIC STATIONS after 8 minutes and ABANDONED the running game because we trail 10-0. You have to be kidding me. Fact: You never have an interception when you are NOT throwing the ball. Fact: We have to date avg over 5yds per rush in 2 games and we ran the bal 19 times TOTAL. IF Rees does not do what he has done HIS ENTIRE CAREER eg force the ball into coverage and NOT SEE THE OPEN RECEIVERS he refuses to look at then we are probably up 21-17 at the half. The guy has had more chances then any QB in footbal history and still we never see Hendrix with the first team for 3 full games to see if he is BETTER THEN TURNOVER. Defense does not have to do much if they are standing on the sideline for games when we are busy using 5 great running backs put up 300+ yard games. Oh and if Kelly has not noticed yet Carlise is the back to throw to and McDaniel is the guy who gets you the tough yds on Third and 3 for rest of the year. And one final pt forget Rees throwing the FADE to anyone in the End Zone. If you look at his slow motion replays on EVERY pass virtually the guy cannot throw a TIGHT spiral to save his life. Hendrix we NEED YOU.

  16. While this loss was definitely a team effort, I do not understand how Rees is the starting QB, I don’t understand how two guys that fit Brian Kelly’s offense better can’t beat this kid out. The bottom line is that Rees is not good. I sat in the end zone 10 rows up at this weekend’s game, and what really stood out to me was his inability to read the defense and check down to other receivers. It appeared he would already have his mind made up who he was throwing to before the snap, and then proceed to stare that receiver down the whole play until he threw the football.

    Furthermore, it was obvious to me based on the play calling that Kelly does not trust Rees at QB. Not once did ND take a shot downfield even though TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels had the height advantage against UM’s DB’s as well as the speed and ability to get open. ND also called plays utilizing only one side of the field, probably due to my aforementioned reference to Rees’ inability to read the field.

    I hope ND takes advantage of a weaker opponent in Purdue next week and lets Hendrix and Zaire get some reps. We know what Hendrix has to offer, which is very little, but he is capable of running the spread. I understand if ND wants to preserve this year of eligibility for Zaire, but the kid needs reps. IF Golson doesn’t come back next year, which is probably unlikely, ND will be a lot better off if they gave Zaire the chance to get some reps this season so he can learn the offense.

  17. After 2 games, I think we learned just how valuable Manti Teo was to the defense last year. Not just his talent but the intangibles. This year’s defense is talented but haven’t played with the same heart or spirit as they did last year. They’ve lost that killer instinct. They’re “almost” making a ton of big plays but succeeding in making few big plays.

    As for Tommy Rees, he is what he is. Back to the dinking and dunking and not being able to get the ball downfield. He’s just plain, flat-out, not talented enough to beat the better teams on the schedule. The offense needed to score at least 34 pts. to win this game. They scored 23. Not bad, but not good enough. That’s Tommy Rees — not bad, but not good enough.

    This was an 8-9 win the minute Everett Golson was lost for the season and I don’t see anything to change that prediction.

  18. Riddle me this one batman, The Irish ran the ball 19 times averaging about 5 yards a carry. News flash if you defense is sucking up the joint hold onto the football and run. Also, find a running back rotation and stick with it! CAM MCDANIEL and AMIR CARLISLE! That is your Cierra Wood and Theo Riddick combo. Also, springle in some Freshman now and then. Atkinson needs to show he can catch the ball and lower his pad level

  19. Win as a team, lose as a team! they just didn’t play a good game last Saturday. Interceptions, penalties and a porous defense lead to their demise. Tighten up the “D”, don’t throw the ball away, and stay away from stupid penalties. Their schedule is to tough to make mistakes and expect to win. If the can go 9-3, IF, consider the season a huge success. They are just not ready to face the real big boys……….yet! Go Irish!!!!

  20. Notre Dame defensively dominated a 12-2, Rose Bowl Champion Stanford team last season. They did not score an offensive TD against the Irish. The FRESHMAN QB hadn’t quite figured it out yet so it was closer than it should’ve been. What’s Oklahoma’s record at home under Bob Stoops? ND absolutely dominated that team (who went 10-2 in the regular season and went to a major bowl).

    Some people see the glass half full, some see it half empty. Enjoy finding the worst in everything.

  21. I have to believe that if we had a healthy Tony Sringmann to rotate in and a healthy Danny Spond it would have made a BIG difference. That’s a lot of experience we lost. Spond in particular I thought could have made a difference. While the loss hurts, it’s not like a beating we took in the willingham/Weiss eras to crap teams from the big ten. We lost but had the game very close at a few points. We got a couple bs pass interference calls in my opinion which sealed our fate. Had we got beaten by a 20 points or shut out I might panic but I realize we just arent as good as last year but we aren’t a program going in the wrong direction

  22. They had all winter to work out the kinks.Perhaps it isn’t our defense that is overrated, but maybe Diaco. He had no answers for Michgan or Alabama.

  23. It’s my opinion that Denard Robinson is a better runner than Devin Gardner.

    In last year’s Michigan game, the ND defense was able to contain a very dangerous Denard Robinson while bringing pressure up the middle, and it worked well.

    One would think executing a similar defensive game plan this time would be fairly doable given the returning starters on defense.

    Watching this defense get pressure but be unable to finish or contain, as well as a drop off in overall team tackling has me re-thinking Kelly’s approach for the 2013 season.

    If you remember, the team spent the first week of fall practice at camp shilo roasting hotdogs and marshmallows, zip lining and rock climbing, all in an effort to build team unity and leadership.

    Most top teams spend the first week of fall practice getting re-acquainted with the basics.

    You know, things like passing, catching, covering, blocking, and tackling?

    The very same things it appears that the team has been lacking so far this season.

    At the time I thought the decision to start out in Shilo was a good one.
    Now, I’m not so sure.
    I guess time will tell.

    1. Shaz,

      I disagree with your point. Most teams in the first week can’t hit per NCAA rules. They are in shoulder pads and shorts most of the time. The team building is not the issue. The issue is the fact that ND tried to add a bunch of stuff to their defense and the defense is not picking it up. Plus Nix is trying to make every tackle rather than doing his job which is clogg up the middle.

      1. Jack,

        I didn’t know there had been a rule change reguarding hitting during the first week of fall practice, although, after theses first two games, I think I’d still take Shoulder pads and shorts over hotdogs and marshmallows.

        They clearly miss Teo directing the defense, and Nix does seem a bit distracted thus far.

      2. Shaz,

        It kills me when they throw in a shoulder and don’t wrap. Stop worring about blowing up the play and wrap the ball carrier. Both Russel and I believe the saftey on the Gallon first TD didn’t wrap. Sad but kids watch these hits on SportsCenter and want to be on a highlight real rather than doing their job.

  24. Scott, if you think going 10-2 is an elite season, then you must think going 6-6 is a ‘good’ season. Elite is bigger than a season with 2 losses, I’ll tell you that much. I completely agree with Travis’s comments. If you can’t beat Michigan, who comes from the crap Big Ten, you don’t deserve to say you had an elite season.

    Btw, Diaco might not be as good as he has been built up to be. No freakin adjustments at all to stop Gardner from breaking contain. Everyone knew he was going to run the ball and nobody there to stop him all night. God help us when we play that kid from Arizona State, and now Oklahoma.

    1. 10-2 will get you a BCS bid. And if a BCS bid isn’t an elite season…I’m not sure how else you’d classify it.

      1. Who cares about the BCS unless we play an SEC team! They are the elite conference and until we can beat one of these teams, we will never be an elite program. Sorry but that is the truth. Think about Ohio State…they are in the same exact situation, only they play a crap schedule EVERY year which makes it an easy road to the NC, yet they always get destroyed by SEC competition. Since we play a hard schedule every year, a 10-2 season would be a good season, but definitely not elite unless we would be an SEC team in the BCS.

  25. Scott,

    I agree with you 100%. The sky is not falling and ND insn’t a bad team their just not a great team. If the defense improves and they find a back that can carry the load, this team will be fine.

  26. Not blaming anyone in particular but I hardly think, even if ND goes 10-2(assuming a loss against Stanford, which is not guaranteed, I realize), that is an elite season. What elite teams will ND have beaten this year? What ranked teams will ND have beaten this year? ND is far from elite, even after playing for the NC last year. Wouldn’t/Couldn’t beat Bama, Oregon, TAM, Georgia, South Carolina, Michigan, LSU, Clemson.

    Truth of the matter is, even last year, ND did not DOMINATE any great teams. They eeked out wins against the good/average teams and beat the below average ones by a considerable margin.

    I don’t want to score on every drive, I just want to be to the point where we would be a viable threat, CONSISTANTLY, against the aforementioned teams.

    1. Going 10-2 is always an elite season. A 10-2 record would get ND into a BCS game, and I would take that record in a heartbeat.

      To me, ND is looking at a 9-3 or 8-4 season. ND has to beat one of either Oklahoma, Arizona State or Stanford to go 9-3.

    2. Notre Dame is clearly “an elite team.”

      I felt with the score ND 30 Michigan 34 in the 4th qtr that officiating played too much of a role in determining the outcome of this huge game ultimately.

      1. THB,

        I hate complaining about officiating… it always comes off sounding like sour grapes.

        And I get that the home team is probably going to get a call here or there ND included, but nobody gets more favorable calls, on such a cosistant basis at home, than Michigan.

        It’s like another of their traditions that ranks right up there with the winged helmet and a verse of Hail to the Victors, and is mostly considered common place now a days.

        Woody new it, JoePa new it, Tressel new it, any coach who has played there more than once knows it, and Vegas knows it too!

        You want to win in Ann Arbor? It’s just one more thing your team will have to over come.

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