ND wins again … off the field

This just in:
Continuing their fine work Sunday through Friday, the ND football team achieved a fifth straight semester with a team average G.P.A of over 3.0. Prior to Charlie’s tenure at ND, the highest team GPA (since such numbers were recorded ’92) was 2.91.

Sticking with the academic theme, Notre Dame was awarded the 2007 American Football Coaches Association’s Academic Achievement Award this past week in Anaheim, California. The annual award goes to the college program with the highest football graduation rate. This year, which represents the players who entered the school in 2001-02, the Irish tied for first place with Northwestern as 95% of the class graduated. Overall it is the 7th time that ND has won the award (’82, ’83’, ’84, ’88, ’91, ’01).
This academic success is something ND sports fans should be proud of. And if the football team can elevate performance on the field to Top 10 stature in a couple years, it will be nice to see that “real student athletes” can compete for Div 1 championships. B/t/w, the Irish are getting close to signing one of the elite recruiting classes in the country. Hey … some services think it’s #1! If this comes to fruition, that will give Charlie Weiss three Top 10 classes in a row and they will comprise 2008’s freshman, sophs and juniors. (By contrast, Willingham’s previous two classes before his departure — the ’07 Juniors and Seniors — were in the #35-40 range). Recruiting well, alone, does not guarantee success, but it is the main ingredient. Now we’ll find out if CW & staff can really coach.



12 Responses

  1. Wally,

    You really gotta keep up with things on the Clipboard.



  2. Unfortunately, Academic success has nothing to do with winning. Sure its’ great, but schools are now more concerned with athlete first, once they get them in school, they have classes to “protect them”.

    I am a huge ND fan have been for my whole life, but I honestly can say they are the MOST over rated team in the country. You can’t lose to the teams they lost to and consider yourself a player.

    Charlie is good, but I don’t think he can save ND.


  3. The only reason ND can be considered overrated is because the Irish are actually playing College football while many schools are serving as an NFL farm system.

    I want to see USC after the sanctions come through – they won’t be players for a couple of years. Maybe that’s why Carroll is considering the Falcons’ job.

    The graduation rates of many of the top ten football schools is an embarrassment.


  4. Casey,

    I totally agree with you. But according to the new famous sports catch phrase “it is what it is”

    College Football is much more intrested in Money including the institutions.

    If ND can’t catch up with those guys they always be just a good team with a historical past.

    It’s sad, I wish ND was a BCS contender every year but I think things are not going to get better, I think they could be 500 next year no better than that.

    You’re right ND is playing HS kids against future first rounders.


  5. Here’s the thing: if you sincerely believe Weis is a “good” coach, not even necessarily a “great” coach, then ND should indeed be in a BCS bowl upon completion of the 2009 season. That team will be fully staffed with his recruits. Those recruits happen to be quite good. Again, they are on the verge of signing a Top 1-5 class in Feb … the two prior classes were Top 5-12.

    If Weis is a “good” coach, a reasonable expectation for the Irish is to go 7-5 next season, which should keep the recruiting momentum going. Then, if Weis is a “good” coach, this talent should carry ND to Top 10 status and maybe even a 10-2 or 11-1 season in 2009.

    Personally, I don’t know how I feel about Weis. The proof will be on the field in ’08. If he’s at least “good”, then the Irish should be over .500 in ’08 and the recruiting mo should perpetutate. The ’08 schedule sets up a lot better for ND than this past season.

    So Thrilla … you said Charlie was “good”. If you believe that, then hopes for eventually reaching and staying in the Top 10 should come true. Because it’s primarily an issue of talent … and the talent has been walking through the door recently.


  6. Wally makes a good point: strength of schedule. I did a little digging – check out these links:

    ND is found anywhere from 18 – 33 for SOS. USC? 64!!! OSU?

    USC consistently graduates less than 70% and has a SOS of roughly 60th. OSU is similar. Is this the new equation for success in college football? Of course we will see after the Bush sanction comes through.


  7. I agree that strength of schedule means something. But if not playing in a conference title game or losing early is better than losing late, Shouldn’t teams play their tougher non conference games early in the season.

    I remember when Michigan Lost to APP, everyone was saying that they would not be ranked again this year, they would not make it to a major bowl game and look what happened . They finished very respectful.

    College football is screwed up. and the only way to fix it is with a playoff. That way playing a strong schedule will help you in the long run. Teams that are 8-4 would have a chance to win a SHIP. And you would have great non conference match ups.

    College football is gross right know becasue teams will not take a chance, and that is stupid. Players and Coaches should want to play the best, not worry about their record going into the end of the season, Only a playoff could fix this.


  8. At least Ohio State is traveling to USC early next season. But the rest of their non-conference slate is predictably “the state of Ohio playoffs” — Bowling Green, Toledo, Kent St, etc.

    Back to the Irish … they’ve been very guilty of being very stupid when it comes to scheduling. There’s a smart way to play a high % of tough teams and a dumb way … ND has historically chosen the dumb way, IMO, but things may be changing. Given that you’re gonna play Michigan just about every year in game #2, don’t schedule a tough opponent in the first game … and especially not on the road. Instead, schedule San Diego St (the ’08 opener). Yeah! And do whatever you can to break up the tough opponents from the not-so-tough. The 2007 initial 6-7 games was a gauntlet … even if you were USC … but for ND it was suicide. If you’re gonna be a perennial “Player” in CFB, I’m a firm believer that you gotta establish positive momentum in the first half of the season — it’s important that by the time you hit game #7 that you’re 4-2 or better — it keeps everyone positive, especially the players. Furthermore, schedule two off-weeks during the season, not just one, and do it strategically … like before playing USC!!! ND has been awful about not scheduling enough off-weeks and the result is that they get beat up, no time to heal, and the negative snowball is out of control.

    ND would serve itself better by not being so foolishly noble in today’s environment. It’s right to play a tough schedule … I’m not saying to diminish that … just go about it in a smarter way and increase your chances for success along the way. Get an “easy win” in game 1 and work out the kinks. Schedule two off-weeks: after game 3 or 4 and after game 7 or 8 or preferably before taking on USC 🙂


  9. Wally,

    I don’t think anybody should schedule an easy win. It’s not right. Even more reason for a playoff. The BCS makes schools schedule patsys; it’s not good for the game.

    OSU should be able to play USC with two weeks left and not have to worry about it affecting thier BCS standings but instead measuring up how good or how much better they have to be to win a national championship.

    No team in any college sport should be scheduling easy wins.


  10. Well, then nobody would ever play the crappy teams, would they?

    Listen … all I’m saying is that ND has traditionally scheduled such that, going into any season, they had about 6 games on their schedule where the chance of winning was around 50% … whereas the chance of winning the other 6 games was closer to 80%. (This, by the way, was much more rigorous than your typical Oklahoma, Nebraska, or Ohio St philosophy where they had maybe 3 games out of 12 which presented only a 50% chance of winning with the rest being 80%). I’m saying that ND should continue applying the more challenging philosophy, but just don’t overload the front half of the schedule with all the toughies and give yourself an extra off-week like everyone else does.

    Hey, the higher academic requirements present a big enough hurdle for ND to be competitive with CFB’s elite … there’s no need to further handicap your program with stupid scheduling practices.


  11. Agree with Thrilla – if all ND is guilty of is playing a hard schedule then all the more power to them. The only thing that creates criticism is the recent trend of the powerhouses scheduling cupcakes. ND should be proud to buck that trend.

    Agree with Wally that some creative scheduling would elicit a more favorable response. Playing Duke and Stanford in September as opposed to November might have helped a young ND squad (as Wally said above) ‘establish positive momentum’. If ND opened with Duke, they might have beaten a Purdue and/or Navy.

    Again – the way to take the filling from the cupcakes and make it harder to chew is to include them in the BCS/playoff picture. Yes, it will create lopsided games early, but for the good of the game it will create a balance of power in the long run.


  12. Totally agree Casey,

    Helmet sticker to you!!!!!

    Im happy to be a clipboarder!!!!

    this is a lot of fun


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