Two Years Ago…

Notre Dame had just finished its final game masquerading as a school that proclaimed it believed in football excellence, but in reality settled for peer acceptance. Oregon State put a beaver tail exclamation point on the Davieham era with a 17 point beat down of Notre Dame in something called the Insight Bowl. The loss was the tail end of a dismal two years by Irish standards, with Notre Dame following up a losing 5-7 season with a 6-6 campaign and a third straight destruction by USC. Worse yet, Notre Dame was about to ink its second straight bottom rung recruiting class. It wasn’t a stretch to believe that another bad year on the field could give Notre Dame a virtual death penalty.

After Lou left, Notre Dame was never able to put success together on the field and in recruiting with any consistency. Here’s a look at the Davieham years:

1997 7-6
1998 9-3
1999 5-7
2000 9-3
2001 5-6
2002 10-3
2003 5-7
2004 6-6

omahadomer pointed this out awhile back. Like Charlie Brown about to finally kick the ball, Notre Dame looked like it could turn the corner three times during this stretch, but in the end fell flat faced. The lack of success on the field begot lack of success in recruiting and vice versa.

If Notre Dame had kept Willingham, I believe we might not have made a BCS bowl until after 2010.

What Weis has done is something Notre Dame hasn’t seen 1993: Back-to-back major bowl seasons and back-to-back top ten recruiting classes. That’s building a foundation of excellence that will finally allow Notre Dame to get off the mediocrity roller coaster.

So about that bowl game coming up. The odds are against ND winning on January 3rd. If both teams bring their “A” games and the breaks are even, LSU should win by more than a touchdown. Their domination of Miami last year demonstrated that Les Miles, maligned by some, can plan for the big game.

The bottom line is that LSU has as much talent as any team in the country and Notre Dame’s weaknesses are well documented.

But Notre Dame has a senior laden team and a month to prepare and get healthy. If Notre Dame can move the ball on the ground with any success against the Tiger’s 4th rated scoring defense, the Irish will be able to move it through the air — others have.

If that happens, we’ll take our Cheerios’ jokes with extra Sugar.

Have a great time in N’awlins, y’all.

Irish 26-18.

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