October 7, 2007

College Football Season Finally Started Yesterday

After Notre Dame's longest exhibition season ever, the Fighting Irish finally started their regular season with a win over the UCLA Bruins, 20-6, at the Rose Bowl. Coach Charlie Weis remarked how well his team prepared through their extended preseason engagements, pronouncing it one of the most successful decisions he's made since taking the helm at Notre Dame three years ago.

Well, that's not exactly the truth, but at least Notre Dame finally won -- in their sixth regular season game. It wasn't exactly a dominating performance, but it still counts as a W:

Maybe this will stop the laughing.

Jimmy Clausen scored on a quarterback sneak and Maurice Crum returned a fumble 34 yards for another touchdown during a 50-second span of the third quarter as Notre Dame fought its way out of one of the worst slumps in school history with a 20-6 victory over UCLA on Saturday.

It was only the second time Notre Dame had played in Pasadena. Knute Rockne's "Four Horsemen" defeated coach Pop Warner's Stanford team 27-10 in the 1925 Rose Bowl to give the Irish their first undisputed national championship.

This win was significant in quite a different way. It was Notre Dame's first victory of the season and assured the Fighting Irish they won't equal the longest losing streak in school history.

Coach Charlie Weis obviously was relieved.

He shouldn't get too relieved. The Bruins wound up gaining twice as much yardage on offense, 282-140, almost twice as many first downs, and about 100 more yards passing. Unfortunately for UCLA, they also outdid the Fighting Irish on turnovers, coughing up the ball seven times while the Irish had none. Most of those came after the first-string QB for UCLA went down with a knee injury and a walk-on freshman with no college experience had to play the rest of the game, throwing four interceptions and giving the Irish defense a fumble-recovery TD.

However, it's a win, and the Irish desperately needed it. The next two weeks look brutal for Weis' 1-5 team. They play at home for two annual traditions. Surprising #7 Boston College comes to ND for what promises to be an unusually lopsided Catholic Bowl next week. The very next week after that, they play USC, who got stunned by Stanford and will likely lose their #2 spot in the rankings -- and will come to Notre Dame looking for some redemption.

Oh, and the Irish have to play Stanford, too, in the last week of the season, and at Stanford. In between, they have three games which would normally be considered walkovers against Navy, Air Force, and Duke. This year, they can only feel comfortable about Duke. The Navy game looks like a competitive contest for the first time in decades, and the Irish will risk their 40+ year streak against them.

This team could very well go 2-10 if they don't start playing better. If so, Charlie Weis may be looking for other work at the end of the season, and given the collapse of the team this year, deservedly so.


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Comments (16)

Posted by mac | October 7, 2007 8:40 AM

where is all the players ty recruited?

Posted by Salamantis | October 7, 2007 9:18 AM

This year, they could be called Notre Damned and nicknamed the Flighty Irish. I'm surprised that there are not alumni movements to amputate the arms of Touchdown Jesus and gild the team helmets with iron pyrite.

It was once said that other teams had to recruit, while Notre Dame just gathered.

Those days are obviously long dead and gone.

Posted by PG | October 7, 2007 9:40 AM

oh please,this is the last year with Ty's players. Charlie has brought in consecutive top 10 recruiting classes. Anyone who has watched our games should see the raw talent but the utter lack of experience that only time will take care of. Look for the Irish, coached by Charlie Weis, to return to the top in the next two years.

And Salamantis, please show some respect to Our Lady.

Posted by Peyton | October 7, 2007 9:43 AM

We got to watch a bizarre and wonderful Texas A&M victory, last evening. They came from behind to take a 24-23 lead over Oklahoma State, but they went 3 and out on their last drive, with a minute and a half left in the game. We were sure that Oklahoma could find some way to get a field goal, if not score again, when Oklahoma rushed the Aggie punter. Some bad Oklahoma luck or shear clumsiness left the Aggie punter knocked down, and drew a penalty for roughing the kicker. Ball went back to A&M's possession, and that was it for the game. A&M is 2-0 in conference play, the only undefeated team in the Big 12.

Yup, college football season finally started, yesterday.

Posted by I R A Darth Aggie | October 7, 2007 9:57 AM

This year, they can only feel comfortable about Duke.

I wouldn't count my Dukes as W's just yet. In addition to beating Northwestern, they hung 43 points on Navy, and 36 on a pretty decent Wake Forest team. NotreDOH!'s best scoring output was 20, courtesy of a fumble return for TD.

Generating 20 points on 7 turnovers is, ummm, what's the word?? anemic. Unless UCLA has a completely, totally, dominate defense?

Posted by bman | October 7, 2007 9:59 AM

jayhawks are 5 - 0 and undefeated in the big 12 north.

Posted by rvr | October 7, 2007 10:19 AM

How about that Stanford game! 24 to 23 over USC in the last minute.
"Making his first career start, [Stanford QB] Pritchard had to convert on fourth-and-20 four plays before the winning TD, and because he couldn't hear his coach calling in the play, he was on his own."

Posted by Duke DeLand | October 7, 2007 11:47 AM

You can choose to avoid further depression by joining with me in support of our 1sr-ever national ranking for the University of South Florida Bulls! Their last week ranking of 6th is bound to jump up 1-2 spots with their Saturday win.

If you choose instead to avoid our Bulls, you can instead wish my Fighting Illini (without Chief Illiniwek) well as they move through Penn, Wisconsin, etc. Even their lone loss in season opener against a strong Missouri team was close! They will, without a doubt move into the rankings this week....a place they should have been last week.

Don't ya just love football season?


Posted by Del Dolemonte | October 7, 2007 8:03 PM

May I submit for your consideration the Number 16 team? They keep having to use their backup quarterbacks lately, and still win:


Posted by LenS | October 7, 2007 8:32 PM

Weis is a fraud. Without the vaunted New England spying operation to back him up, he's a mediocre coach at best. We're seeing the same thing with Crennel and the Browns and Mangini and the Jets. It's easy to win when you know the other team's plays.

Besides, I doubt he'll get a top ten recruiting class again after what they did to the QB who transferred.

Posted by Holly Garza | October 7, 2007 10:22 PM


I'm surprised you think Weis' job is in jeopardy. As PG stated above, what we're seeing now is Ty's responsiblity -- um, call that LACK of responsiblity. As much as I love Ty Willingham, I cannot ignore the fact that Ty failed to fullfill even the basic recruiting requirements of a head coach. Weis inherited a bare cupboard.


You appear to be ignorant of pertinent facts. The young man in question left the school with no notice to ANYONE at Notre Dame. He did not withdraw from his classes. He failed to take care of the paperwork necessary for a transfer. He simply . . . left. The media, however, being as ignorant as you, immediately jumped on the poor-wittle-baby's-been-wronged-by-the-meannie-coach/ND bandwagon . . . without checking with either with Coach Weis or ND about WHY the poor wittle baby didn't "get" a transfer.

ND has never in the past denied the transfer of an athlete to a lower division school and didn't do so in this case either. ND, however, DID require the young man to take care of business first.

You don't know much, do you?

Posted by PackerBronco | October 8, 2007 12:46 AM

Weis inherited a bare cupboard.

Oh please. If you examine the recruiting rankings, Ty's recruiting class were indeed in the 30's to 40's BUT there are plenty of schools that recruit and that level and develop their talent into Top 20 or Top 10 squads. Or are you saying that Weiss can ONLY put out a decent team if has Top-10 recruits? If so, that doesn't say much for his ability to develop players does it?

Posted by Frank Black | October 8, 2007 9:51 AM

Odd how the Irish seem to get worse as more of Willingham's recruits leave and Weis's start, but it's still Willingham's recruits that are the problem.

That embodies some form of logic with which I am unfamiliar.

UCLA isn't really that good anyway. Remember, they got blown out by Utah as well.

Posted by Captain Ed | October 8, 2007 9:55 AM


I'm mystified by that one, too. When Weis went 9-2, no one made the argument that Ty should get the credit. Why should he get the blame now? If the senior and junior classes were this bad, why didn't Weis relegate them to the practice squad?

UCLA is more inconsistent than bad. Had their starting QB remained in the game, it probably would have been a different contest.

Posted by Ol' Roy | October 8, 2007 10:13 AM

In deference to your otherwise sound judgement, I will remain silent on your somewhat misguided loyalty.

Posted by Crutch | October 15, 2007 6:49 PM

I think people just really dont have anytime on there hands but to make sure Notre Dame lost, or have done something bad. We could be talking about how crazy it is that South Florida is #2 right now. But no its about Notre Dame being 1-5 I understand that 1-5 is not good at all, but we do some potential in the recruits that Notre Dame has right now. We will see Notre dame in the winners circle in the next couple of years. I'm 21 so i dont know as much as some of the people out here who have like 98 years of college history under their belt but i can say that Notre Dame will bring Back there tradition once again.

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