By Bobby Cole
The Fighting Irish are 4-0 for the first time in a decade and the echoes of every blowhard Notre Dame fan are now awake. This isn’t the typical blind optimism that the South Bend faithful spit every year. This is the actual belief that Notre Dame has finally turned the program around and is going to be in National Championship contention this year.
All this comes on the coat tails of a grind-it-out type victory against a vastly overrated Michigan team. Denard Robinson is one of the most athletic college quarterbacks the game has ever seen. But his decision making and accuracy has never improved to the point where he is as lethal a weapon as Vince Young or Colt McCoy ever were. (I mention these two guys because they ran a similar zone-option read system that Michigan has.)
Notre Dame beat an overmatched Navy team that was breaking in a new QB and couldn’t contain the speed of the Irish. They squeaked by Purdue in what has been the Boilermaker’s only game against an actual college football team to date. Their win against Michigan State was impressive from a defensive standpoint and I’m not going to take anything away from a team that holds opponents to less than 10 points per game. However, Michigan State came into the year replacing Kirk Cousins and held their ranking based on their Boise State win to open the year.
The offense hasn’t done much of anything this year. After scoring 50 points against Navy to start the season the Irish haven’t put up more than 20 point since. They’re ranked 86th in scoring, 85th in passing, and 89th in rushing. Those numbers aren’t going to help a team that still has Miami, Stanford, BYU, Oklahoma, Pitt and USC on the schedule.
Brian Kelly has to figure out his quarterback situation in the coming days. Everett Golson is doing what he is asked to do right now, which is manage a game. He’s done a nice job of not losing a game so far, as hard as he has tried at times. The time will come, however, that a quarterback needs to step in with the game on the line and march the Irish down the field. Coach Kelly has already told the press that in a crucial two minute situation he will be turning the offense over to Tommy Reese. Reese does have experience but if his run in with the law this summer is any indication he lacks morals and the ability to shut-the-fuck-up when a cop comes around.
There is reason for optimism in South Bend, but that’s because the Fighting Irish are now beating opponents that they should be beating. This team is a far cry from the team that lost to Navy and Tulsa two years ago, but they still have a lot of glaring holes. Simply put the schedule is way too tough for a team with an offense this bad to compete for a BCS bowl this year.