Read all about it! Notre Dame's defense torn to shreds! Oh, wait. Wasn't that last week's story? Or maybe the week before. I know I've read this story before...
This week's IBG hosted by the OB - Subway Domer. We're supposed to provide a headline for each question.
1. After weeks and weeks of living on the edge, Notre Dame finally fell off of that edge into a pile of shit. Please describe your mental state since the Navy game. Are you hopeless or hopeful? Why?
Domer Law Bumfuzzled
I'm so lost right now, I've spent all week sort of floating through life. I can't focus at work, and I'm losing sleep. I know this team is talented, and the only people beating them right now is themselves. I don't know which was is up.
I'm vacillating wildly between firing Coach Weis and staying the course. I don't know which way this program is headed, and I'm not entirely sure how to fix it.
Happily, this weekend's row with the Pitt Panthers should tell me everything I need to know about Coach Weis and this football team. Win, and you can get this ship righted and build some momentum going into next season. Lose, and it becomes time to start praying for a miracle hire by new AD Jack Swarbrick.
2. Given the sorry state of the Fighting Irish defense, are they capable of slowing down Pitt's offense, or will Stull, Baldwin, and Lewis have career days?
Pitt's Offensive Explosion
When I was looking at the matchups this weekend, I was not encouraged. Bill Stull is 5th in the country in passing efficiency. In a run-first offense. The Panthers are 16th in the country in scoring offense. Our biggest issue is giving up the long passes, and Baldwin is averaging 20 yards per catch.
They're gonna score some points.
3. Notre Dame has had serious Red-Zone issues this year. They can't score... why is that? What needs to be corrected and how can they do this?
ND Offense Gets Physical
This is one of the things that is most puzzling me this year. Offense is different when you get down by the goalline, as speed becomes less of a factor, and size and strength become more important. We are not imposing our will against defenses in the red zone. We should be pounding them, and using the tight ends on inside routes and our tall receivers on fade routes. Instead, it seems like every time we get close, we just throw a couple of fade routes and then kick the field goal. We need to run, and use our size advantage inside.
With Rudolph gone, however, I'm guessing we'll see more of the fade route since Floyd is healthy. My hope is that Armando Allen will be back as part of this offense.
4. Charlie Weis and Dave Wannstache started coaching their alma maters at the same time. They have both coached on crutches. They both seem to recruit fairly well. They are both considered disappointing in their respective 5 year campaigns. After reviewing their total body of work, who would you rather have coaching ND in 2010? Explain.
Weis retained despite year-end skid, Wanny fired after bowl win
I'm still going to go with Weis. Although Wanny has managed to get his team into the top 10, he did so in a weak Big East. His biggest win is over Navy (which I'm certainly in no position to scoff at), and the loss was to a now 4-5 NC State team. This team would only have 1 loss against that schedule as well, and may have been able to actually beat Navy, since they would have been able to focus on them as the toughest team on the schedule, rather than coming out flat and uninspired.
Weis has his issues - don't get me wrong. I just think that, at the end of the day, he's better than the Wannstache.
5. Prediction time. How does this game play out. Please include a score, an offensive MVP, a defensive MVP, and a sleeper.
Cardiac Catholics give Coach a Heart Attack
Notre Dame comes out of the gate pissed off and ready to hurt someone. They get an early lead, but the Panthers punch back with their own explosiveness by scoring a couple of LONG TDs with Baldwin, and another rushing TD by the freshman RB Lewis. Notre Dame and Pitt eventually settle into a shootout, trading scores and leads until the end of the game. Clausen scores the go ahead TD on a quick slant to Allen with 1:15 left on the clock.
Weis, in his excitement, suffers a mild heart attack and is carted off the field in an ambulance.
Then Stull comes out and tears the ND secondary to shreds en route to a game winning TD pass to Baldwin.
Tenuta, in his frustration, eats Ian Williams.
Notre Dame 45
Yes, folks, you read that right. Domer Law, the biggest ND homer and eternal optimist, picked us to lose a game. It's sad, but true.
Notre Dame: Golden Tate, 15 catches 174 yards 3 TDs
Pittsburgh: Jonathan Baldwin, 12 catches 247 yards 4 TDs
Notre Dame: Manti Te'o, 17 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, forced fumble
Pittsburgh: Adam Gunn, 14 tackles, 5 TFL, INT
Sleeper: Bobby Burger, 7 catches 89 yards TD