Sunday, October 2

IRISH 4-1 WITH TWO WEEKS TO PREPARE FOR #1 USC TROJANS IN SOUTH BEND

The naysayers, who didn't even have Notre Dame ranked in the pre-season Top-25, said before the season even began that even Charlie Weis and his three Super Bowl rings worth of experience and Parcells-Belichick apprenticeship-pedigree couldn't whip the Fighting Irish into fighting form right out of the gate. Not in Weis' first season as Notre Dame's head football coach. Not in a season rated as having the toughest schedule in college football. Not given the decades' lost luster of history's winningest college football program, which last garnered a National Championship under Lou Holtz way back in 1988 -- 17 seasons ago. Not, perhaps, in any season. Not; not; not.

But the Irish did it again last night, at Purdue, again on the road. Indeed, all 4 wins this season have come on the road, with their only loss of the season being at home in overtime against Michigan State. That's right -- in the toughest schedule in all of college football, The Irish were handed 4 of 5 games on the road to test their mettle before they faced the national champion, number #1-ranked USC Trojans at home in South Bend on their hallowed gridiron.

Purdue got punished last night. QB Grady Quinn passed for 440 yards and 3 touchdowns and was 29-of-36 in pass attempts for a career-high 80.5 percent completion rate. The Irish under Charlie Weis are an offensive juggernaut in search of a defense. But understand that only 3 starters returned this season from last year's team.

USC, say many, is unbeatable. They've now won 26 in a row and one could make the case that they have 3 solid Heisman Trophy candidates on their team. Imagine that. But they had their hands full in the 1st half of yesterday's game in Tempe, AZ, and, unlike Notre Dame, must play another game before their trip to South Bend. Too, the Trojans have a cakewalk schedule this year so The Irish should present them with the stiffest competition they will have faced thus far and most certainly the keenest football mind on the opponent's sideline. If anyone can watch film and figure out where USC's defense is vulnerable, it is Charlie Weis.

Regardless, at 4-1, The Irish are making believers out of a lot of former naysayers!

CORRECTION: As reader "Joe" accurately points out in his "Comment," Charlie Weis has a total of four Super Bowl rings -- one more than I gave him credit for in this post. Not sure how I made the mistake that I did in that I linked to Notre Dame's Web site bio of Weis which states four rings. Must be my encroaching senility. Anyway, thanks for catching the error, Joe, and for visiting ACSOL.