Goodbye Notre Dame? Not so fast my friend.
The fans are ready to move on to a new coach. It even looks like the team is ready for a new leader but neither of them matter. The only people that matter are in the administration of the school.
Far too often pinhead administrators want to prove to the fans who is the boss. The Ohio State Athletic Director was hearing demands for Coach John Cooper to be fired in part because he was beaten like a nail by hammer Michigan. Instead, he gave Cooper a significant extension. The following year both the AD and Cooper were history. But the Buckeyes still had to pay off the contract. It was the gift that keeps on giving.
Don’t bet the house that coach Weis is gone. ND doesn’t like paying ex-coaches. There is no question that the team needs a new direction and that needs to be more than just a change in the coaching staff.
The two previous ND coaches won 58% of their games. Prior to the loss Saturday, Weiss had a winning percentage of 58. That can not be a coincidence. Based on the Sporting News top 25 recruits ND has a commitment from 1 and shot at 3 others. That will help but not much. ND is not going to be a BcS candidate for the big game any time soon.
The problem is a fan base that has the expectation of a national championship run every year for a team that will at best be moderately reliant a couple of times a decade. There are other teams in the north that are now in the second tier of college powers. Unless Global Warming makes the deep south unbearable, colleges north of the Mason-Dixon line will be second class citizens for the foreseeable future.
Michigan not Rodriguez friendly. Rodriguez is not very Michigan friendly either.
Coach Rich Rodriguez has not made many friends at Michigan. He got off on the wrong foot by not committing the Blue history to memory. He further irritated Blue fans by turning his back on Michigan stars of the past. He also brought a new system that 2007 QB of the future Ryan Mallett wanted no part of. As a result, Mallett left the team for new digs in Arkansas.
If you are winning Big 10 titles and BcS bowl games you can get away with more than a little arrogance. When you struggling to win enough games to get an invitation to the Tidy Bowl in Michawalka Minnesota you had better be sucking up to the power brokers.
Rodriguez faced an extra challenge bringing his wide open O and 3-3-5 D to the ultra conservative Michigan program. He needed a run and shoot type QB similar to White that he had in WV. He also needed lighter more athletic O and D linemen. The cupboard was bare when he got there and there wasn’t any of the things that fit his system. But again due to arrogance, he refused to change his system and implemented it with what he had. When the Michigan HC is advertising for walk-ons it is not going to be a good year.
After a 3-9 result in 2008 a 5-7 2009 is not good enough. The fans are screaming for his firing. But for the fans there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the AD has said that Rodriguez will be back next year. The good news is that the AD will not be around then because he is retiring.
I doubt that he will be fired this off season. But with a new AD coming in, it is not out of the question. He has tried to smooth things over with the key donors to the program but kissing up to contributors is not his style. He may last another year but will be gone for sure after that and may not be part of a trip to OSU next November.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .