When Notre Dame
takes the field this Saturday in their home opener, you can bet the place will be shaking. Not because Notre Dame will be returning to campus
after a hard fought 14-10 win over the perennially average Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Not because hated Penn State will be making their first appearance to South Bend since 1992. And not because it’s Brady Quinn bobblehead day.
The real reason Notre Dame Stadium will be pulsating is Charlie Weis. Ever since he arrived on the scene, the Notre Dame hype-machine has been working overtime to anoint him as a saint. Following his 9-3 navigation through a schedule that would make a high school blush, Fighting Irish fans are suddenly forgetting about the “down” years of Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie. So big has the legend of Charlie Weis grown, that there is only one true way to quantify it: the Richter Scale.
As he ambles out of the tunnel on Saturday, my advice to you is to watch your drink. You will be rewarded with a Jurassic Park effect inside your cup. When Charlie puts his hands on his hips, it conjures up images of the Philly Phanatic thrusting his belly on top of the dugout. Every time he goes into a toy store, Weis is accused of trying to smuggle hula-hoops in his pants.
Ok, enough about his weight. The man is the figurehead for the New York Yankees of college football, as well as a representative of the university. If he chooses to display a blatant disregard for physical health, that is his choice. So long as he knows the fine example he is setting in a country that is increasingly eating itself into obesity.
The weight I would prefer to focus on is the metaphorical weight he seems to throw around as one of the most respected coaches in the country. His extensive coaching career sports a 10-3 record, with more wins over service academies than top-25 stalwarts. Worse yet, he is not even responsible for recruiting the talent on the team that provided him with nine of those wins. That was the work of Willingham. But don’t tell anyone in South Bend that. No, they will have none of it. “Stare at this moving watch and repeat after me- Charlie WeisÃ¢Â?Â¦Charlie WeisÃ¢Â?Â¦Charlie Weis,” is the most common response to any attempt at giving Willingham credit.
Notre Dame sycophants are quick to point out that Weis is the proud owner of four Super Bowl rings (none of which won as a Head Coach). While that is a remarkable feat, how does that guarantee greatness in college football? Dave Wannstedt won a few rings as a coordinator in Dallas- how is he faring at Pitt? Every other New England assistant (who chose to leave) found a head coaching job in the pros, so what does that say about Weis having to go down a level?
Shame on the media for fawning over Weis. They have been down this road before with Willingham. Although he did not come to Notre Dame quite as decorated as Charlie, Tyrone got the Fighting Irish off to a quick start, before finishing 10-3 in his first season. Their records were similar, but Tyrone did one better: he beat a good team (at Florida State) in the process, something Charlie has yet to accomplish.
Which brings me to another popular Notre Dame apologist’s excuse: Weis almost beat mighty USC last year. I realize this is a weak argument, but these are Notre Dame fans we are dealing with here, rational thought has long since left their heads. I prefer to draw the scenario out a little further. Ohio State almost beat Texas, which did beat USC. Penn State beat Ohio State; therefore, using Notre Dame logic, they should have been #1.
Because they are Notre Dame, the media will continue to pump them up into the Goliath that sells newspapers, magazines, or gets television ratings. It is as though the entire world stops spinning simply because the Fighting Irish are not in a New Year’s Day bowl game. They have the appeal that forces one to love them or love to hate them. That I understand- every sport has a team of that nature.
What I cannot understand, however, are the accolades being heaped upon someone who has done nothing as a Head Coach to deserve them. I must say though, I have to take my hat off to Charlie Weis because he has not let the high praise go to his head. One glance at his roly-poly stature suggests that it has obviously gone elsewhere.