If you're a Notre Dame football fan, you've already begun to rue the day that you knew the name Charlie Weis.
The former offensive coordinator with the swagger of being with the Bill Belichick-led New England Patriots, came to Notre Dame with that same arrogance that his former NFL franchise had instilled in him. Weis was a winner and by goodness, the Irish were going to return to the glory days as well. Notre Dame would settle for little else than challenging for national titles each year and 6-5 records just weren't good enough.
Well fast forward several years and 6-5 was just about all that Weis was capable of bringing Notre Dame. Year-by-year that brash attitude slowly leaked out of Weis as each loss continued to heap criticism on him. Lose to USC, well fans can forgive that, lose to Navy, or Syracuse or to UConn for Pete's Sake and now you've got some problems.
Weis even had star power recruits to work with as perhaps the nation's top recruited quarterback, Jimmy Clausen, arrived amidst great fanfare, brandishing three rings he won while playing high school football and said he was going to Notre Dame "to try to get four national championship rings."
Reportedly after talking to Weis, now the former Irish football coach, Clausen is heading to the pros and perhaps taking his top receiver with him as Golden Tate is expected to announce that he'll be leaving for the NFL draft too.
So if we look at the aftermath of Weis, not only couldn't he win while at Notre Dame, but even after he has been fired, he's still killing the team by advising his former players to turn pro. Don't get me wrong, both players may have likely decided to turn pro even without his advice, but it just adds to the wasteland that is becoming Notre Dame football.
The reality has become that Notre Dame, whose storied history long belied it recruiting riches, has lost any sort of advantage it might have had on the national battle for top-flight players. The program's last national title was over two decades ago back in 1988 and what that means is that today's recruits weren't even alive when the Irish brought back that hardware. In a 'what have you done for me lately,' day and age, it's hard to sell a five-star recruit on a history lesson.
Most top talents have an eye towards the NFL and while Notre Dame does produce that sort of talent, they certainly aren't the top program in doing so any more. If you think about the three or four years that a high school stud will spend in college, would you realistically rather spend it playing half that time in chilly South Bend in late October or November or in the sunny locales of Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama or California? Not only does Pete Carroll have a tremendous program and a much more current history of winning titles along with Urban Meyer at Florida, but the girls sure are prettier without parkas on.
Much has been made about Notre Dame's recruiting disadvantage because of the school's rigid academic requirements, but it hasn't seemed to stop Jim Harbaugh at Stanford or even Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern. The truth is this however, that Notre Dame's next head coach is going to have a steep hill to climb in building the Irish back into a top-10 team on a regular basis. While there is no excuse for Notre Dame to lose to Navy two-out-of-three years or to fall to Syracuse and UConn, it'll be tough to earn regular wins over USC and eventually Michigan once Rich Rodriguez gets his full allotment of scholarship players in place. Even more difficult will be luring a big-time coach that has already had BCS success like an Urban Meyer or even Bob Stoops of Oklahoma or Brian Kelley at Cincinnati. Notre Dame is 0-for-3 in its last coaching hires and the pressure cooker that is Irish football is starting to outweigh the benefits of having that Notre Dame head football coach title. There are much easier jobs out there that pay nearly as well with far less pressure, criticism and better weather forecasts. So good luck to the next Notre Dame head man, may he have a thick skin, a heavy winter coat and much better luck