Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Irish Keep a Place in the Polls

Charlie Weis and the 2006 Fighting Irish football team settled for 17th as their final resting place in the AP voting polls. Come from behind close-call victories against Georgia Tech, Michigan State and UCLA should give the Notre Dame alumni confidence that Weis can win the close games. However, blowout losses against top flight opponents LSU, USC and Michigan (who finished 3rd, 4th and 8th respectively) will have university officials scratching their heads as to how they can attract more top flight (yet faith-filled) talent (especially defensively) to Our Lady's university.

But in this writer's opinion, at least we don't have to worry about Weis leaving Notre Dame for greener pastures. Like Bobby Petrino (who left Louisville for the NFL) and Nick Saben who left NFL for Alabama), Weis has been courted with big contracts to flee the pressure under the Dome and return to the professional ranks for big(ger) bucks. But unlike the aforementioned colleagues who also had long-term contracts and swore they would never leave their town, I believe Charlie when he says he'll stay put. He loves his alma mater and Notre Dame needs both his Catholicity and coaching genius now more than ever. Ill health or too many defeats may force his departure, but Weis is too much of a fixture at the field and the Grotto for mere money to move him now.

Meanwhile the 22nd ranked Fighting Irish basketball team rebounded from a huge loss to the Georgetown Hoyas, and will retain their spot in rankings with their narrow victory over 21st ranked West Virginia 61-58. Russell Carter lead the Irish with 19 points and also defensed a potential game-tieing three pointer as time expired. Colin Falls regained his shooting touch with 14 points including four of seven from behind the 3-point stripe. Meanwhile there is still no word on whether McALarney will return to the team from his marijuana possession suspension.

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