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The muck of the Irish

Preseason hype hasn't panned out for Notre Dame

September 4, 2011
B.J. LISKO - Salem News Sports Editor ( , Salem News

For at least three consecutive years now, I keep hearing about how Notre Dame is back.

I keep hearing preseason predictions of the Irish cranking out at least 10 wins and threatening to make a BCS appearance. Nearly every major preseason college magazine and prognosticator has been in agreement - Notre Dame is poised to be the Irish of old.

Someone forgot to tell Notre Dame.

The Irish looked downright feeble against South Florida. Everything they did well, they immediately countered it with something awful. They looked worse than inexperienced high school programs in their first few practices of the summer. They turned the ball over five times and lost 23-20 to South Florida in a home opener that started full of promise and ended in complete disarray.

Notre Dame keeps hiring flavor of the month coaches who don't pan out. Tyrone Willingham, Charlie Weis and now Brian Kelly all came in with great acclaim only to falter miserably - at least by Notre Dame standards.

I get it's only one game and there's a long way to go, but nothing Notre Dame has done in the past half decade has led me to believe they would achieve anything even close to a double-digit win season.

Kelly had a few good years at Cincinnati where he smartly installed an offense capable of waxing everyone in the Big East. But keep in mind, the Big East hasn't exactly been a powerhouse of a conference in recent years. What he did for the Bearcats was certainly admirable and it put them in a BCS contest, but Kelly didn't even stick around long enough for the bowl game where he knew the beating his team was going to take from Florida.

He jumped ship, and the Bearcats were clobbered so badly by the Gators (51-24) they have yet to recover.

It's a good thing they evacuated Notre Dame Stadium because of severe weather. Chances are the fans were far more of a threat to Irish players then the weather was. Boos poured down on the Irish long before rain did an deservedly so for the way they played.

Saturday they play Michigan, who in all likelihood should beat the Irish in Ann Arbor. The Irish follow with Michigan State at home, then travel to Pittsburgh and Purdue.

If Notre Dame doesn't come out of that five-game stretch at least 3-2, they will struggle to reach even a mid-tier bowl game, and Kelly very well may get the ax just two years into his tenure.

Whatever talent Notre Dame seems to be recruiting to gain such preseason praise, they're certainly not coaching that talent into the BCS contender everyone seems to think they should be.

I don't particularly have anything against Notre Dame, but I'm sorry. I just don't see it.

E-mail B.J. Lisko at



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