I'm not even sure why it happened. Could it be the after effects of playing their third tough game in a row? Lack of focus? Lack of emotion? Who should be blamed?
There are plenty of places to lay blame. But as a wise man once told me: Those that place blame usually are those who can't figure out how to fix problems.
Irish fans have heard plenty of excuses over the past 10 years. We've held those responsible and some have even accepted the culpability. But what hasn't happened is the solving of the problems.
Irish fans simply want problems fixed now, and maybe those problems can't be fixed currently. Maybe the answers just aren't in this group of players.
It's not that they don't try hard. It's not that they don't work hard. They do and they seem to give it their all every play.
But maybe their all isn't quite good enough. At least not good enough to be the No. 2 team in the country. At least not good enough to be expected to play three tough games in a row and win all three.
Like all Americans, I think Irish fans want it all now. It's just too soon. There are too many holes with this team and eventually a good team will exploit them.
This is the effects of three tough games in a row and two very poor recruiting classes in my estimation.
While I mean no disrespect to those members of the team in those two recruiting classes, the Irish simply lack sheer numbers and the talent needed to be a top five team based on these two recruiting classes. The Irish simply don't have elite talent and they have very little depth at this point. Sooner or later, that will come back to haunt you.
But that doesn't explain five turnovers. That doesn't explain 28 penalties in three games. That doesn't explain front-line players playing poorly in more than one game. That doesn't explain a veteran offense struggling to make a first down in two full quarters of play. That doesn't explain a 26-point loss to your rival at home.
Those are questions head coach Charlie Weis must find answers to and it has to happen this week. This is a one-shot deal as I see it. If the Irish want to salvage their season they have to beat Michigan State. Now is the time to find some answers.
The good news is most of these problems are fixable. But some clearly aren't, and the Irish will continue to struggle with the very best teams until they can find the right personnel to play with the elite teams in college football. Those answers will likely only come in recruiting, and that's why it's vital that Notre Dame beat Michigan State next weekend.
It's a one-game season for Weis in my opinion. Fix the problems, win the game and the rest will take care of itself.
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