coaches in college football.
I think it's now safe to say with no hint of reservation: The Notre Dame-Charlie Weis marriage is officially doomed.
College football's $40 million man got a reprieve for his 3-9 debacle last year because, according to his apologists, it was Tyrone Willingham's fault. While there were growing grumblings following recent Irish losses to Pittsburgh and Boston College, most reasonable observers believed a 7-5 season would assure Weis' return next season, and AD Jack Swarbrick quickly put out a statement echoing such.
But that was before Notre Dame lost to Syracuse. That's right, folks: Syracuse. Saturday in snowy South Bend, Weis' band of former five-star recruits blew a 23-10 lead and lost to lame-duck coach Greg Robinson's 2-8 Orange.
Notre Dame has suffered a lot of bad losses under Weis. This was one was unquestionably his worst yet -- and, most likely, his death knell in South Bend.
It's all but assured now that the Irish -- following their inevitable beatdown at USC next week – will finish their fourth regular season under Weis at 6-6. That is unacceptable. Despite a set of three straight recruiting classes nearly any school in the country would envy, Notre Dame is no better than a low-level Big East team.
Once again, Weis has been exposed as an incompetent college coach, incapable of developing young talent.
There were signs of progress earlier this season, back when Jimmy Clausen was starting to throw more touchdowns than interceptions and the Irish managed to beat four teams (San Diego State, Michigan, Purdue and Stanford) that are all now below .500.
But then came the collapse against Pittsburgh and the shutout against BC. Weis, who to this day can't seem to figure out the actual responsibilities of a head coach, took over play-calling duties prior to last week's Navy game due to offensive coordinator Mike Haywood's personal issues. With the former Super Bowl-champion calling the plays Saturday, Notre Dame ran for 41 yards against the nation's 107th-ranked rushing defense.
Does it get any more humiliating than that?
No one knows what exactly it will cost to buy him out (he signed a 10-year, $40 million contract seven games into his debut 2005 season), but the Irish faithful will find a way. They can't let this nightmare continue any longer. Or perhaps Weis, himself a loyal Domer, will make it easy on his alma mater, accept his shortcomings, and return to his more comfortable surroundings on an NFL sideline next season.
Either way -- Weis is done.