Notre Dame Football Shedding Its Skin Painfully

Tony BishopCorrespondent INovember 10, 2008

We Notre Dame fans really need to start rethinking our goals. Our expectations are growing faster than our abilities as a team.

All of the talk lately is a bunch of bull. This is 2008. A time when parity rules almost all sports and it’s extremely difficult to win a national title at a premier program, let alone a mid-tier conference school.

"Can Charlie Weis bring a national championship back to Notre Dame?"

"Is this what you expected from Charlie Weis in year four?"

Stop fooling yourselves. 

After this season it will be over 20 years since Notre Dame's last championship. We've had two, maybe three, chances at national titles since the 1988 run, and those came during the Lou Holtz era.

Let me fill you in on a little secret: This isn't your grand pappy's Notre Dame anymore. We're no longer built to succeed, year-in and year-out, at top 10 levels. We're on the right path, but we're not there yet. 

We're undefeated against losing teams and we're winless against winning teams. We are what we are, folks. We're a .500 football team.

But that's where we should be. This team was ridiculously low on top talent and it takes time to get that back.

It is unfair to Charlie, or any head coach for that matter, for us to say "national championship or bust." It's illogical and it's ignorant. This team was not built for a championship and it will take several more years. Now add parity into the mix.

Look at USC. It's arguably the most talent-stacked program in the nation, and even it loses a game almost every year. Last year, LSU won the title with two losses because the rest of the nation beat each other up.

Expecting 12-0, year-in and year-out, isn't fair to Notre Dame and isn't fair to you. You'll get ulcers if you wait for seasons like that.

Now this school has lived in the past for so long it doesn't (or at least didn't) realize that the game of football has passed it by. Weis is trying to catch up. The players are trying to catch up. The fans are complaining that it isn't happening fast enough. It's like taking a student who can barely read and giving him the SAT, then sending him to his room when he gets a 300.  

I understand the team isn't playing up to our expectations, but maybe that isn't Weis', Jimmy Clausen's, or Brian Smith's fault. Maybe it's our fault. Maybe our expectations are so unrealistic that we're blinded by our own ambitions.

It appears this team has hit a brick wall. All of the improvement we saw at the beginning of the year has completely stalled and it’s quite obvious. But maybe right now, at this time, it's the best we can be. Perhaps it's like a snake that has grown out of its skin but can't quite shake off its molt.

Right now we're shedding our own analogous skin, and it hurts. It's frustrating because we're so close, yet so far away. It hurts watching us lose close games to good teams, but until we get this skin off our back we'll never make it.

Maybe Charlie Weis isn't the right coach to give us a championship, but he is the perfect coach to give this team the makeover it so desperately needed. It's frustrating, but I look at the future and I see us growing into a full-blown title contender. For now, I'm okay with that.