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Posted: Thursday September 11, 2008 5:54PM; Updated: Friday September 12, 2008 11:46AM


Story Highlights
  • Charlie Weis can’t stop the bleeding in South Bend, but his job isn’t on the line
  • The Irish don't want to lose, but they also don’t want a “trigger happy” reputation
  • Oh, and then there’s the $30 million contract and stock of blue-chip recruits
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Charlie Weis
Charlie Weis has made a habit of losing 38-0 to archrivals like Michigan and USC, but that won't be enough to get him fired.
Al Tielemans/SI

By Phil Guidry

Saturday's showdown with Notre Dame might be the only time in Rich Rodriguez's debut season at Michigan when he's not the most controversial coach on the sidelines. Instead, that dubious honor will belong to South Bend's flat-topped, three ring-wearing ball of raised-ire, Charlie Weis, who's the focus of this Mythbusters' installment.

Charlie Weis' job is on the line this season.

Careful readers of this space may recall that in the most recent Mythbusters column, we reference the likelihood of Weis losing his job. Time to come clean: We slightly bent the truth in order to write a lame joke. (That's probably the first time that's ever happened in journalism, especially on the Internet).

It's widely assumed that if Weis doesn't spearhead a dramatic rebound from last season's 3-9 debacle in South Bend, the Notre Dame brass will kick him to the curb at the end of this season. Detractors point out that predecessor Ty Willingham got only three seasons (with a record that looked eerily similar to Weis' at the same point). And many of them believe it's a grave injustice that Weis even got this season to potentially redeem himself.

The litany of Weis' misdeeds is well known to anyone who follows the sport. He arrived on campus claiming his pro experience provided a "decided schematic advantage" -- he just didn't specify that the opposition would be the ones with the advantage. To Irish fans he was confident, but to outsiders he was intolerable, exuding cockiness while taking shots at ND rivals, vowing to settle the score for all the injustices Irish fans had suffered (back before the 3-9 brought the suffering to new lows).

Soon even the die-hard Irish faithful grew tired of his act. He's gone 0-3 against USC and in those games, the Irish have lost by an average score of 39-18, including last year's record-setting 38-0 whitewash in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus (Fortunately that loss didn't sting so badly, since 38-0 losses to arch rivals were becoming commonplace by then). At one point last season the Irish were dead-last in virtually every offensive category except, well, being offensively bad. Weis' teams have been blown out of two BCS bowl games that nearly everyone outside the state of Indiana felt they didn't belong in in the first place.

And then there was that little stumble against Navy. On the surface, it's not so bad. Lots of folks have lost to Navy. It's just that usually they're evil foreign armadas, not the most storied football program in America. Word has it Weis was also responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the Russia-Georgia conflict. Things have gotten so bad, the Pope considered convening Vatican III to sort it all out.

But Weis-haters beware. Unless the Irish have a repeat of last season's gridiron self-lobotomy, his flat-top will be back on the sidelines next season.

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