Monday, September 20, 2010

we only lose because the refs make us

Here is one will likely end up being the inaugural post of the series "what Kelly said". Yeah, maybe there should have been a delay of game penalty on the fake field goal attempt. It doesn't matter, though, because in any game there are going to be occasional bad calls. If the defense had properly covered Gantt the play clock wouldn't be an issue. If the Irish had played better than Michigan State during regulation, that play would never have happened in the first place.

The fact is that the Irish were not robbed. Michigan State played as well or better than Notre Dame, with more total yards and fewer turnovers. They won that game.

We're at an uncomfortable moment in this season because ND was played to a stalemate by a middling Big 10 team while at full strength (unlike last game when we gave Michigan a free half to pull ahead). If you had asked Irish fans at the beginning of the season if they expected the team to be about that good, a middling Big 10 team, a potentially dangerous opponent for most outfits but not really competitive with the league's elite, they probably would have agreed. Confirmation of your team's mediocrity still hurts, though, no matter how accurately you predicted it.

I think the most common prediction I heard a month ago was 8-4 on the season. I think we're able to establish ND's relative strength with the last game, though, and with USC, Stanford, Pitt, Utah, and Boston College still on the docket, escaping with only 4 losses would be miraculous. Barring significant progress in the secondary and running game, I'm ready to predict a 5-7 season, picking up one of these tough ones (we shouldn't be favored in any of them) but dropping another to one of the patsies.

It's ok, though. I said at the end of last season that ND should land a great coach and give him time, because building a great team often means making systemic changes to the current one. Weis' teams were highly talented but overwrought, underconditioned, weak on fundamentals (tackling in space, anyone?), and lacking in confidence. It takes time to remedy those issues, especially the last one.

I know it sounds corny and fanboyish, but I have confidence in Brian Kelly in the long run.

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