First off, to get things perfectly clear, I am naive enough to believe that Weis will not take the Giants job regardless of the offer. Just something about him putting the word liars in his shot at Nick Saban that has me convinced.
However, that is not the subject of today's entry. Pardon me for no live weblogging during the Sugar Bowl but I just can't keep it going and watch my team at the same time. We will be back for the Ohio State - Florida tilt on Monday. Finally, getting to the point, let's talk about where Notre Dame is at this point in Weis' tenure.
The Irish are 19-6 under Charlie Weis. 10-3 at home, 8-1 on the road, 1-2 at neutral sites. The six losses, unfortunately are the best point about the Irish under Weis. Other than a home loss to Michigan State in overtime in 2005, Notre Dame has lost to only the superpowers of the college football world:
-Michigan State (5-7, unranked), #2 USC (12-1), #4 Ohio State (10-2)
2006 (rankings are pre-bowls)
- #3 Michigan (11-2), #4 LSU (11-2), #8 USC (11-2)
Again, the good is that the Michigan State 2005 loss withstanding, it has taken teams that finished the year in the Top 5 to beat the Irish. (Good bet that Michigan will remain in the Top 5 even after their loss to USC, who should jump back into the Top 5.)
Now for the bad, the wins are just not impressive:
- Pittsburgh (5-6), Michigan (7-5), Washington (2-9), Purdue (5-6), BYU (6-6), Tennessee (5-6), Navy (8-4), Syracuse (1-10), Stanford (5-6).
- Georgia Tech (9-5), Penn State (9-4), Michigan State (4-8), Purdue (8-6), Stanford (1-11), UCLA (7-6), Navy (9-4), North Carolina (3-9), Air Force (4-8), Army (3-9).
The damning of the issue is that unless Penn State sneaks into the rankings this year, the Irish 19 wins will have come against exactly zero opponents who finished the year ranked. I don't think the world expected Tennessee AND Michigan to flop in 2005, however, the facts are just that. This team has gotten here by winning the games they should and equally as overmatched against superior teams.
Charlie does deserve the credit for the offensive side of the ball, especially the passing game. 21 out of 25 games have seen the Irish throw for multiple touchdowns. Only twice have the Irish been blanked for passing TDs - Ohio State, 2005 and Georgia Tech, 2006. All in all, the Irish have scored 843 points in 25 games for a 33.7 points per game average. Compare that with the averages of the last three Irish coaches:
Weis - 843 points / 25 games = 33.7 average
Holtz - 4,287 points / 136 games = 32.5
Davie - 1,525 / 60 = 25.4
Willingham - 801 / 36 = 22.3
Using the 30-point mark as a threshold here are the results. The key to this element is frequency as you should win most of your games when scoring 30 points.
Holtz - 73 of 136 games (70-3 record). The losses were notable: Tennessee, 1990 (35-34); Stanford, 1991 (36-31); Boston College, 1993 (41-39).
Davie - 19 of 60 games (18-1). The only loss was to Ty Willingham at Stanford in 1999 (40-37). The loss sealed Notre Dame's first losing season in 12 years.
Willingham - 9 games of 36 (8-1). Ty's only setback while scoring 30 points was to Pittsburgh in 2004. (41-38)
Weis - 18 games in 25 (16-2). Charlie's two losses came in his first year, 2005 to USC (34-31) and Michigan State (44-41).
Holtz best year was 1991 (9 times) and the lowest frequency was twice in 1986 and 1994 - his weakest teams at 5-6 and 6-5-1 respectively. Davie scored 30 points six times in 1998 during a 9-3 season. His first and last years saw the Irish only score 30 two times. Willingham registered 30 points on four occassions in 2002 during the 10-3 season, however, he only scored above 30 points two times the next season when the Irish dipped to 5-7. Weis owns the best year, 2005, in which Notre Dame scored 30 or more points on 10 occassions. Eight times the Irish crossed 30 points in 2006. Next year will be a challenge, losing so many to graduation.
Now we again flip the script for the damning part. The defenses. No doubt Holtz' teams were dominant on defense. Four times during his 11-year tenure, the Irish defense surrendered less than 189 points in a season. None of the three following coaches have allowed less than 200 points in a season. Davie's best year was his last, giving up 215 and Willingham in his first year at 217. These numbers seem staunch compared to Weis' two teams that have given up 294 and 310 in his two seasons. Holtz never had a year in which the opposition scored 300, while Davie and Willingham each had one season of over 300 points.
In total for the defenses:
Holtz - 2434 / 136 = 17.9
Davie - 1326 / 60 = 22.1
Willingham - 821 / 36 = 22.8
Weis - 604 / 25 = 24.2
Now for the 30-point mark against the Irish:
Holtz' teams gave up 30 points in 17 games, with Notre Dame going 6-11 in those games. Twice in Lou's tenure he fielded teams that did not give up 30 points the entire season, 1989 and 1996. Davie allowed 12 games of 30 points with a 4-8 record. His 2001 team did not allow 30 in a single game either. Willingham gave up eight 30-point games, losing all eight. Only USC scored more than 30 against his 2002 (10-3) squad. Weis on the other hand has already surrendered eight games of 30 points. His team's are 2-6 in those games with wins at Stanford (38-31) and Michigan State (40-37).
This first installment represents just the points and wins & losses. The following writings will talk more about:
- Weis' era and what is working and what needs work
- 2007 recruiting class
- 2007 schedule
- 2007 national outlook from the surface (I leave you Phil Steele in summer to provide the junkie in-depth about all other teams.)