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Figured we'd keep all ND thoughts in one place, instead of wasting space on multiple game threads.


Let's start with yesterday.


MSU game


Man, that was ugly at the end again. I was having flashbacks to, well, lots of games like this in the Weis era, the latest of which was last week. If there's anything that's going to sink Weis -- or, more accurately, has likely already sunk Weis -- it's games like last week and this one, where the team just doesn't seem to have an answer when it counts most. This week, McCarthy bailed him out, or more accurately, the goofball MSU QB who DA'ed it bailed him out.


Offensively, we were starting to look downright unstoppable this year...and then Floyd goes down for the season with the busted clavicle. Which is probably a mixed blessing actually because it means he won't be turning pro which I think was a real possibility the way he was playing this year. The guy reminded me of Charles Rogers in 2002 or 2003 when he simply willed MSU into the win against ND and looked like a grown ass man among kindergarteners. But, of course, Floyd goes down.


And then Golden Tate steps up. That guy has serious talent; if only he were a few inches taller, he'd have big-time NFL hpotential too. As it is, our season rests on him because Kamara doesn't have the speed or hands to be a serious threat.


But Rudolph does. Say hello to the next of the NFL-caliber ND tight ends coming out of TE.nd.edu recently. I don't know why these guys love ND so much, but damn, they are good. I'd like to see Rudolph here in two years and then we'd stop talking about how Brady can't find a WR because they'll be open with Rudolph in the middle.


The defense is a problem. Duh. I simply don't know what to say about it anymore. Is it a lack of talent? Speed? Scheme? I don't know. But we're going nowhere without a defensive answer and Charlie certainly is going back to the NFL if he doesn't figure it out.


Michigan game


Puke. Disgust. Sick. Blech.


Nuff said.

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Since Tennessee was surprisingly competitive against Florida, I missed most of the Notre Dame game. I caught minute-or-so snippets during commercials and got to watch their defense do their level best to blow the game at the end. That rebound catch the MSU receiver made near the end was a thing of beauty. Too bad for the Spartans that their QB ended his game with one of the worst end-of-game passes I've seen in a long time. Seriously, thirty seconds to go, even if you take a sack and the clock doesn't stop at all, you still have plenty of time to run the FG team out and try the kick; the decision to throw was bad and the execution was even worse--side-arm and running the opposite direction. When I first saw the play, my response was, "Man, that was a bad pass." Then they showed the replay, and it was even worse. A complete mental breakdown.



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Mich St.'s QB looked solid all game (the starter) until that last throw. I mean, he was throwing wherever he wanted to just about all game.


Our pass D is a little suspect. But Walls (#2) has sick closing speed. The only reason I noticed is because he was getting double moved out of his jock all game. I like our pass rush attack mentality, but the pass coverage is pitiful. Guys are getting way too open, too easily. That's got to be worked on.

If we didn't have McCarthy back there, we'd be getting burned badly on some big plays. He's a tackling monster. Sick in run support also. Worth a look in rounds 3 & later next year imo. Maybe 2 if he keeps playing so well.


Weis, imo, got a little too cute with the wild cat thing. Allen only threw the ball once. And Tate only tried after he and Allen collided on the one sweep play. If Claussen's toe is bothering him, why are we making him trot 20 yards out to the hash to go play WR once every 3-4 downs? Allen seemed to be running well from both WildDawg and regular formations, why not just keep doing that, because Jimmy still was a threat to pass after his toe got banged up. He still made some nice throws. With Allen back there alone, State knew the play was going to be on the ground. That WildDawg led to a bad series right before the half, and pretty much throughout the 3rd quarter.


Michael Floyd. Ugh. Even though I'm pumped we finally beat the Spartans at home (last time was nearly over half my lifetime ago), I'd gladly trade the W to have him healthy. He is sooo dominant. But you're right Juke - we get to keep him an extra year than we probably should. Oh, and how was the play he got injured on not a TD??? The ball came out after he hit the ground, and I know theres that continuation rule or whatever, but he clearly got both feet in and wasnt falling as he made the catch, but fell down when the DB pulled him down out of bounds. Total bullshit. I was screaming into my phone like John McEnroe.


Golden stepped up after a rough week in Ann Arbor, and a couple of dropsies in the beginning of this game. He's definitely a weapon.


And finally, Kyle McCarthy. Hell of a model American. I asked my wife if I could spray paint #28 on her back before celebration sex last night.... no dice.

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Well, Weis survives another week thanks to Jimmy C. I actually fell asleep somewhere in the 3rd quarter and went to bed so I didn't even know what happened til the next day.


Which is fine, because had I been up watching our D give up the lead -- AGAIN -- I think I wouldn't have slept regardless of the win, I'd have been so pissed.


Things I liked: Crist looks like he has potential. The freshman RB was decent. I liked how we mixed Tate into the backfield.


Things I didn't like: The defense. The defense. And the defense. Oh, and that we don't have Michael Floyd.


But, 3-1 (coulda, shoulda, woulda been 4-0 or 1-3 very easily) at least looks good, regardless of how ugly we know it to be.


Watching ND is a lot like watching the Browns. There seems to be enough talent but something is just not right and the team appears flat and slow a lot of time.


(I said "flat", not "fat"; no Weis jokes.)



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Game thoughts are appreciated!



One of the most entertaining football games I've ever seen. If you know anyone who Tivo'd it...call them right now to make sure they don't delete it, and then go watch it.


I can't really think of much that didn't take place in that game.



Overall, ND tried to hand Warshington the W, but then finally pulled their heads out of their asses when the game was on the line.

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Well, of course it was! The 1st game in years that I forget about is one of the best.




Oh, well. At least it was worth it. I'm telling you guys, if you live in ATL, FLA, TEX or out west, GO TO SEE U2.


I've always said I needed to go and I'm so glad it was this tour. Just a great show.


Anyway, thanks for the input, Tim. I'll ask around and try to find the show.

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USC is coming to Notre Dame on Saturday, giving Irish coach Charlie Weis another chance to score the signature victory that’s missing from his resume.


Weis led Notre Dame to BCS bowls his first two seasons, but the Irish were promptly whipped by Ohio State and LSU.


Now, in his fifth year under the Golden Dome, Weis still hasn’t earned a headlining victory. A win over USC would qualify as Weis’ biggest yet. This probably is Pete Carroll’s worst Trojan team since his debut season in 2001, so the time might be right for Weis to score his first win over the Trojans and Notre Dame to get its first since the 2001 season.


More From Tom DienhartNews Flash: BCS expectations Oct 15, 2009 News Flash: Tommy Bowden weighs in on FSU Oct 14, 2009 “USC is one of the best teams in the country,” Weis said at a news conference this week. “They’ve beaten us seven times in a row, really, the bottom line. Some of them have been ugly. So I think winning this week would do wonders for my spirits. But it wouldn’t just be my spirits, it would be everyone affiliated with Notre Dame. So that is what we’re going to try to do.”


If Notre Dame (4-1) fails to beat USC, the Irish will have no chance to score an impressive victory the rest of the season with the likes of Boston College, Washington State, Navy, Pitt, UConn and Stanford left.


That raises the question: If the Irish finish 10-2, advance to a BCS bowl and get beat, will Weis have done enough to quell critics?


“I think that our players believe they’re going to [beat USC],” Weis said. “I don’t know if that’s always been the case. Once again, I’m going reiterate it, they understand the talent level who they’re going against, but I’d say this is probably the first time since I’ve been here where the players really believe they’re going to win. They might be in the minority but they certainly believe that.”


A victory by Notre Dame would vault quarterback Jimmy Clausen into the lead in the Heisman Trophy race. The junior is the No. 1-rated quarterback in the nation with an efficiency rating of 179.3. He has completed 100 of 148 passes for 1,544 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions.


Rivals asked IrishIllustrated.com to rank the five most impressive triumphs in the Weis era.


Sept. 10, 2005: Notre Dame 17 @ No. 3 Michigan 10


Sept. 2, 2006: Notre Dame 14 @ Georgia Tech 10


Sept. 9, 2006: Notre Dame 41, Penn State 17


Sept. 23, 2006: Notre Dame 40 @ Michigan State 37


Dec. 24, 2008: Notre Dame 49 @ Hawaii 21



Todays game against USC is the biggest game of Weis and Clausens carreers. If ND wins Charlies around for a while. If Jimmy can lead this team down the field and make a few big plays his stock as an NFL Qb goes way up.

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The knock a lot of people (myself included) put on Notre Dame is that despite the fact that they traditionally benefit from a soft schedule. Yes, they play some impressive games every year, but the bulk of their wins come against, well, service academies, Duke, and Stanford. In other words, when people tou an 8-3 record with a schedule that features heavyweights like Ohio State, USC, and Michigan is pretty much meaningless when that -3 comes against heavyweights like Ohio State, USC, and Michigan. Heck, Mississippi State could lose to those teams and then pick up cheap wins against Navy and Nevada. Okay, Mississippi State would probably go 7-4.


How fat has Notre Dame gotten off of bad opponents? Here's the stat of the day. I saw it on ESPN this morning, and it's also reprinted here:


Since coming to South Bend, Weis is 19-2 against teams that finish the season with a losing record. Against teams that end in the top 25? 1-13.


Obviously you need to win the games you're supposed to win, and every team schedules cupcakes. Still, it helps to win more than one game in four years against a quality opponent.



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Weis is done at ND. Doesn't matter that we're better and that we lost by a "respectable" 7.


That 1-13 stat is damning but still worse: 0-5 against USC.


I don't care how good they are. Stanford has beat them. Washington has beat them.


We have not.


I'm fed up with cheering for my bad football teams coached by guys that seem to think being tough means making faces and stalking around yelling at people.


Mangini seems slightly more intelligent than that. Weis does not.


It's just old, man. I haven't been proud of one of my teams in a LOOOOOOOOONG time.

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I have no particular love for Notre Dame or Weis, but I had mixed feelings about the game. On the one hand, USC was as weak as it's been in years, with a freshman QB and a RB with a crushed windpipe. On the other hand, there's no way Notre Dame is as talented a team as USC, so USC's "disadvantages" only brought them into a position for Notre Dame to keep it close. Let's face it--the landscape of college football has shifted hard away from Notre Dame in recent years, with more players going to major conference teams in warmer climates (and with easier academic standards). Unless they bite the bullet and join a conference, they're going to have a hard time being consistent championship contenders again.


That said, I was impressed about how they didn't give up in the game. They could have quit, but kept it closer than anyone expected and almost pulled off an upset. I know it's a moral victory, but it's a Catholic school--moral anything has to count for something.



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