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Loss to UConn means it's over for Weis at ND

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CFN's Instant Analysis of Connecticut's 33-30 double-overtime win against Notre Dame.

It's time to call Meyer (again), Stoops, too

If your job comes down to whether or not you can beat Connecticut, you know the answer before the question is asked. In case you forgot, because the 628 Charlie Weis job status references by Tom Hammond on the NBC telecast (with each one followed up by an unfortunate close-up of Weis talking on his headset) wouldn't let you escape the game's main storyline, there are a few rumblings in South Bend about the head coaching situation. It's over, people. You won't have Charlie Weis to kick around anymore. The Stanford game next week doesn't matter. If Jim Harbaugh and Toby Gerhart blast through the Irish in a blowout, and keep going for two after each score, it'll make everything a lot easier, but Weis is gone even if Jimmy Clausen and the Irish light up the Cardinal like a Christmas tree. He has to be. Enough is enough.

Notre Dame has issues

ALTTEXT Go ahead and fire Charlie Weis. He deserves it. But Notre Dame has to realize its problems run far deeper, Mark Kriegel says. Full story.
It's time for all of us to move on with our lives. Let Weis go be a god of an offensive coordinator for some woebegone NFL team (which is what he really wants to be doing), bringing his "schematic advantage" with him. Let the Irish fan base get fired up about the possibility of a coach who can actually give Notre Dame a schematic advantage. And most importantly, let the media get a break from having to write about Chuck's job status, deal with his insufferable press conferences, and be forced to cover one of the most joyless programs in college football. (Seriously, Notre Dame, after giving us Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis, a personality would be nice.) But Notre Dame is going to be smart this time. It has to be. All the speculation about the next head coach starts with Brian Kelly, who made a miserable Central Michigan program into a MAC superpower and took Cincinnati to the BCS last year and is on the brink of doing it again this season. But he's not going to say word one about the Notre Dame situation, not when his team is in the middle of a national title chase. Kelly would be a terrific choice, but if you're Notre Dame, and money isn't an object, it's time to send that private plane to Gainesville and talk to Urban Meyer (and more importantly, his wife). It's time to at least throw out a feeler to Bob Stoops. It's time to not play around, not wonder about another George O'Leary résumé situation, and not worry about money. Notre Dame is already rich, it gets richer with the NBC and BCS deals, and will be even richer with a superstar head coach who turns Notre Dame into USC (and it can be done). It's time for Notre Dame to not go after the hot head coach of the moment; it's time to get the hot head coach, period, and it has to be a lock. There can't be a floating offer with a chance of being turned down. Find the guy, finalize the deal, and get the program going again. But that, of course, assumes that Weis is fired.
At the end of last season, the call came down from on high that Weis was going to come back for one more year in a BCS-or-bust situation. Part of the reason was because Weis deserved a chance to show what he could do with a matured recruiting class, and part of the reason was because the notoriously cheap program (who lowballed Meyer the first time around and seemed to tick off the entire Meyer family) wasn't going to be too jacked up about the buyout. A $20+ million payoff was a bit hard to swallow considering the returning talent at the skill positions and the experience across the board, but paying the $18 million to buy out Weis this year is far more acceptable for one of the world's richest universities. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick is on the record saying that money isn't an issue this year, so if dollars aren't the problem, and if the edict at the end of last year was for real, and with a fan base that has no interest in sitting through another season of struggling against the Big East and Navy, then you know what's coming next. Bye-bye, Charlie Weis. And after the last five years, don't let your schematic advantage hit you in the can on the way out. — Pete Fiutak

An emotional win for the Huskies

Is Weis gone?

ALTTEXT Will the coach's bond with his players be enough to let him stay? That's Yardbarker's biggest question.
When Connecticut RB Andre Dixon cruised into the end zone for the winning score in double overtime, something just felt right about the conclusion of this game. The Huskies, on a year-long emotional roller-coaster ride that included the tragic slaying of CB Jasper Howard, were on the losing end of these types of barnburners all season long. There was the 2-pointer to North Carolina in September on a holding penalty in the end zone. How about the 15-point blown lead to once-beaten Pittsburgh on Oct. 10? Or the back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Rutgers on last-minute touchdown bursts from Noel Devine and Tim Brown, respectively. And earlier this month, Connecticut rallied at unbeaten Cincinnati, only to fall once again, 47-45. In total, there have been five losses of 5 points or fewer. Surely, No. 6 would happen in South Bend, right? Nope. The hard-luck Huskies finally had a different script in hand for the Irish. If you've followed Connecticut football at all this fall, there was a sense of poetic justice when Dixon coasted into the end zone, sealing the program's first victory since Howard died. More than just the biggest win in Husky history, it was a testament to the perseverance and blue-collar work ethic that's become customary around Storrs ever since Randy Edsall took the job a decade ago. The coach simply does things right, from fundamentals and teaching to recruiting and player development, allowing a school with marginal talent to occasionally do extraordinary things. Charlie Weis had tears in his eyes before kickoff. Randy Edsall was visibly choked up at the end of the second overtime. It was just one of those emotional, meaningful classics that reminds you why you can't get enough of this sport every September to November. — Richard Cirminiello

Charlie ... meet Marie Antoinette

1. What was particularly illuminating about Charlie Weis's public execution — a French Revolution special edition beamed over NBC airwaves — was the fact that the Peacock aired a clip from the soon-to-be ex-Notre Dame coach just before Connecticut prepared for a winning field goal attempt at the end of regulation. (Yes, the attempt missed, but UConn would finish the job minutes later.) In the clip, Weis said to his new Notre Dame audience, "You have a 6-5 football team ... 6-5 is not good enough for me." The words bring a chill in light of the Fighting Irish's record after 11 games in 2009, but what's even more instructive about the clip is that those very same words were uttered with such haughtiness and hubris, with an edge that announced a bold new leader's presence in South Bend. Now, that edge — that imperious, insistent edge — has been eroded, bit by bit, over the past three seasons. It has now been reduced to nothing. When Weis brushed off Alex Flanagan of the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company (don't you know who helps pay your salary and facilitates the very large buyout you're about to get, Mr. Weis?) and told the sideline reporter, "That's it, that's it," in the moments after this 33-30 loss became official, he was commenting on his own tenure under the Golden Dome. The lesson of this story? Hubris usually leads to endings such as this ... not just for Weis himself, but for a Notre Dame administration that fawned over Weis and spoiled him rotten midway through his first season, in 2005. Thus marks the end of a journey that began when Notre Dame treated Tyrone Willingham like dirt and dealt a crushing blow to the hopes of African-American head coaching aspirants in major college football. When Willingham got thrown overboard — and Weis received a king's riches, plus the adulation to match — a lot of athletic directors and university presidents surely said to themselves, "Geez, if I hire a black head coach, I'm inviting a public relations firestorm if things ever go bad. Notre Dame has taught me to stay away from black head coaches at big-time college football programs." Well, maybe now we can move on and realize just how loony and irresponsible Notre Dame's administration was in the delusional years of 2004 and 2005. Maybe now, a black coach (Charlie Strong, anyone?) can get a plum job in this sport. Maybe, too, Notre Dame will realize that hubris helped take down Louis XVI, Charlie Weis ... and a Fighting Irish program that lies in ruins today. Let them eat cake? How about humble pie instead. 2. Aside from the overrated Charlie Weis drama, how about the underrated drama involving Jasper Howard? Seeing UConn coach Randy Edsall well up after the game, and dedicate the win to the cornerback who was killed last month at age 20, represented one of the purest and most poignant sports moments of the whole year. It stands alongside the Huskies' visit to West Virginia — in their first game after the loss of "Jazz" — as the most beautiful snapshot of the entire college football season. How deeply moving it was to see a deeply wounded and still grieving football family cement its everlasting bond with a beloved and fallen teammate. Remember this game not as The Day Charlie Weis Died. Remember this game as The Day Jasper Howard Smiled From Heaven. — Matt Zemek

Irish on brink of irrelevance

This is what you get when your first three choices turn you down and the guy you hire has lied on his résumé: a coach who has never even led a high school program and has enough arrogance for five coaches. R.I.P. Charlie Weis and the overbearing attitude that had you thinking you invented the game. If anybody thought Weis had even a remote chance of saving his job, it was erased Saturday, and Notre Dame had better get it right this time, because one more bad hire and the program could be permanently irrelevant, Gipper or no Gipper. Let's face it, the Subway Alumni aren't getting younger, and it's impossible to convince 18-year-old kids that Frank Leahy still matters. Plus, having to take calculus freshman year is not a popular selling point. Maybe Brian Kelly is the right choice. Perhaps Bob Stoops will get the job. Whoever is next inherits a program on the brink, and ND had better not mess it up. Again. — Michael Bradley
Tagged: Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia, Michigan, Central Michigan, Buffalo, Stanford, USC, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Cincinnati

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