TIME: US | UK
WEATHER: US | UK
THE AMERICAN MAGAZINE ONLINE
Features & Blogs
"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
NOTRE DAME: M.I.A.
With Michigan v Notre Dame the only live college football game on NASN’s saturday night coverage, I made the two–hour trip to Guildford instead to catch the British Basketball League’s Cup–winners Cup. The Guildford Heat eked out a 93–91 win over the Plymouth Raiders to claim the first silverware of the season, and a very entertaining battle it was too. (If you haven’t seen British Basketball, go to www.bbl.org.uk and track down your nearest team).
Returning home, I skimmed the Notre Dame game. Even on fast@–forward, it was sometimes hard to spot the Fighting Irish moving. Going into the game, ND had the worst offense in 1–A (sorry – ’FBS’), so at least they didn’t disappoint in that respect. Total yards: 79, including 33 rushes for a net of –6. Including 7 penalties for –51 yards, it took them 62 snaps to move the ball a total of 28 yards. Above all, they looked awful. Going into their fourth game of the season, they will still be looking for their first offensive touchdown, and the quarterback who started for them in week 1, Demetrius Jones, reportedly just enrolled at Northern Illinois instead. During the spring, QB Zach Frazer transferred to Connecticut.
Head coach Charlie Weis is contracted to be with Notre Dame until 2015, but by 20:15 Saturday night, more than a few Notre Dame fans were probably observing how well things were going for former coach Tyrone Willingham over at Washington. A down year was expected for the Irish, but not this down. ND have now lost 5 straight games, and have lost 9 straight bowl games. The last time they won one was during Lou Holtz’ tenure. Since then they have been through Bob Davie (5 years), George O’Leary (5 days), Tyrone Willingham (3 years), and Kent Baer (one game interim) before signing Weis. The question now becomes whether extending Weis’ contract during his first season at Notre Dame was just desperation for stability.
Well, they’re stable now. Stable ...as in ‘not moving’.
The theory was that Weis is an offensive genius, the coordinator responsible for the superbowl successes enjoyed by the New England Patriots. The Patriots, however, are still enjoying offensive success, and now that the players Tyrone Willingham recruited to Notre Dame have moved on, the spotlight is falling on Weis.
"We’re really not getting good at anything" said Weis after this week’s 38–0 drubbing by Michigan. Wow. If he’d said "We’re not executing well", it would have been an accurate if understated assessment. If he’d said "We have a lot to work on", that wouldn’t have nailed it, but the media would have reported it all the same. But what he said was "We’re really not GETTING good at ANYTHING" (my capitals). That sounds to me like Coach Weis thinks this could go on a long while. The statement had the air of a profits warning.
Looking down the schedule, there’s not only the chance of an 0–8 start, as some people were saying two weeks ago, but the possibility of much worse.
After the nasty stretch of traveling to UCLA before hosting impressive Boston College and indomitable USC, it was thought that the Irish could lick their wounds and build momentum against their final four opponents: Navy, Air Force, Duke and Stanford. But Air Force is 3–0, with upsets of Utah and TCU in back–to–back weeks. Duke just beat Northwestern. Stanford just blanked San Jose State, 37–0. Notre Dame needn’t think these teams are just going to roll over for them.
If Notre Dame finishes with 4 straight wins, Weis may just be able to shrug this off as a difficult year, and take a more experienced offense into a new year. But if Navy were to provide the only win in a 1–11 campaign, with three losses to finish, the dissatisfaction of the Willingham era may seem like polite coughs of disapproval.
Significant Upset of the Week: UCLA were spanked by Utah, failing to score a touchdown for the first time in four years. Utah had started the season 0–2, before taking No.11 UCLA 44–6. If you’re not making the connection here, Notre Dame play UCLA October 6th, one week before the Bruins are due to play Pac–10 rivals Cal. Despite the speculation above, I think I smell another upset down the road. And probably a very ugly game.