The decision to keep Charlie Weis for another season is the death blow to arguably the most storied program in the history of college football. Notre Dame missed a "golden" opportunity to correct another hiring blunder. Weis is the most recent in a long line of disastrous hires the school has made since Lou Holtz left the program after the 1996 season. Bob Davie wasn't the successor everyone had hoped. George O'Leary was a fraud. Ty Willingham shot a burst of energy into South Bend and then fizzled (You can say what you want about firing Willingham too early, but he proved at Washington that he wasn't going to be the answer at Notre Dame). Now I'll admit that I bought into the Charlie Weis hype like everyone else, but my eyes are open now and I can see the light. He's nothing more than an offensive coordinator at best who was a genius because he knew what the defense was calling on just about every play.
Sure, Weis has consistently brought in top ten recruiting classes in his tenure, and he's going to bring in another this year. The problem is he can't develop any of the tremendous talent on his roster. What Notre Dame needed to do was cut ties now and hire someone who can. Here is what's going to happen to this program. Next year the Irish will might improve and win 8-9 games. Obviously that's better than this seasons 6-7 (I'm already counting their annual bowl loss). If you didn't fire him this year, you certainly aren't going to do it after a 2-3 win improvement. That is where it ends. They won't win more than 8-9 games a year with Weis as coach. That's not enough to win a national championship, and that is the point of all this, right?
There are reports today that Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach has talked with the University of Washington about it's coaching vacancy. Now maybe that's leverage to get more money from Texas Tech, who knows and who cares? His offenses have been some of the most prolific in the country in his eight seasons in Lubbock. He's a perfect example of someone who can develop talent. His recruiting classes barely rank in the top 25 every year, yet he's managed to go to a bowl game every year at Tech, and he's won five of them. Imagine the possibilities if he was able to bring in the best players in the country? Plus he has proven experience as a head coach, which Weis did not when he was hired. Why not make a run at him? If he's talking to Washington you know he'll listen to Notre Dame. It would have been worth a shot and even if they didn't land him there are other coaches out there that would be better than Weis at this point. Tommy Tuberville, Chris Petersen, and Skip Holtz would all be good fits.
With each passing year Notre Dame becomes more and more irrelevant to the national landscape of college football. With Weis staying on it's only going to get worse. This will be the last big time recruiting class he gets. His four Super Bowl rings no longer hold weight as a recruiting tool. His reputation is now based solely on what he has done at Notre Dame, which is pretty much nothing. How can he convince the best high school athletes to forego USC, Florida, and Oklahoma to play in South Bend? He can't look a player in the eye and tell them Notre Dame would be a better choice than those other programs, cause it's obviously not. So that's going to leave you with second tier guys which will officially make you a second tier program.
Notre Dame has been on life support for a number of years now, and today with one simple decision they pulled the plug.
R.I.P. Notre Dame Football: August 23rd, 1887 - December 3rd, 2008.