Heading into this season Notre Dame was pretty much the Golden team. Pundits and fans alike felt they would roll through their schedule and end their season playing in Glendale for the national championship. I of course did not buy any of it and was proven right. Then I said Notre Dame would get thumped in the Sugar Bowl and what do you know, that's exactly what happened. How could so many people be so wrong about the Irish?
The media has always hitched its wagon to the Irish and for good reason, Notre Dame is college football. They're the sport personified and even when they struggle, no one can deny their worth in the whole scheme of things. From the days of Knute Rockne, to even the walking zombie himself Lou Holtz, Irish football has dominated the American college landscape and so you can't fault the media for running with the supposed "rejuvenation" of Irish football. They did it during Willingham's first season and now we're seeing it with Charley Weis. The problem however with all of this is that they've been premature in their assessments. They were in 2002, last year and of course prior to this season as well. And until Weis bombs -- which I don't see happening -- the Irish will continue to thrive by the media hype machine.
The Irish are a storied program that has the impossible task of living up to its past. No matter what Weis does, it will never be good enough to compare with past glory. Notre Dame won't dominate like USC has done under Pete Carroll, but that doesn't mean they won't succeed. Yet I think the media has built up this invincible image for the Irish, something that no Notre Dame team -- no matter who coaches them -- can live up to and that's the biggest problem right now for the Irish. They're hyped beyond realistic results and even though they often schedule light in years, they still face tough competition and most certainly face one or two defeats prior to seasons end.
Weis has made the Irish relevant again, but he is not the don of college football and most definitely not the golden boy many have made him out to be. He'll win games with the Irish, but I don't see him, or the Irish, ever living up to preseason expectations.
Notre Dame will be a solid team under Weis, for however long he stays, but as they've proven the past two years, they are not BCS bowl worthy. Now it's time for the media to wise up and realize the Irish aren't the dominate team in football right now and probably won't be for a very long time. They're good enough for 9-10 wins a season, but I hardly think they will contend for the national championship in the next few years. Of course, I'll happily eat crow if I'm proven wrong.