Sunday, November 23, 2008

When the Levee Breaks

If there's one thing I've learned in the past two weeks, it's this: despite having a general appreciation for their place in rock history, I never fully understood how awesome a band Led Zeppelin was.

Apologies for the little non-sequitir. It's just that in light of the two most recent performances by the Notre Dame football team, I find myself grasping desperately at something positive to get through the day. And thanks to the introduction of Channel 39 on XM Satellite Radio (all Zeppelin, all the time) I find myself immersed in the hard-charging, never-dull sounds of a bygone era that puts all modern attempts at emulation to shame. I could also achieve this by listening to old tapes of Lindsey Nelson recapping Notre Dame football games, but as I said before I'm trying to keep my will to live.

It's not a big mystery at this point. One game could be treated as an anomaly; a couple games can be lumped together on either the positive side or negative side of anybody's ledger if you spin hard and long enough. Charlie Weis has coached Notre Dame for 48 games now, and to use his own words, "You are what your record says you are." Charlie Weis is 28-20 with almost certainly one, if not two, more losses to be tacked onto that ledger. It's the definition of mediocrity.

This is not something I write with a sense of pride. I know of no Notre Dame fan who actively hoped for Weis to fail, but of course in hindsight everybody is running to claim that they knew what one of the sages at Blue-Gray Sky knew in December of '04: that Weis, while a sharp coordinator and a "Notre Dame man", was an Outback Steakhouse in the land of Ruth's Chris. Better coaches existed then, and certainly better coaches exist now. Notre Dame once again learned the hard way about what happens when you make a huge investment in somebody who's only head coaching experience is at the high school level. Those who fail to learn history...something something.

At this particular juncture, I just pause to remember the words of Page and Plant: "When the levee breaks, Mama, you've got to go." And when you can't beat a 2-8 team with a lame duck coach on your home field, on Senior Day, with a New Year's Day bowl bid (however unmerited) still within your grasp, when you've got players admitting afterwards that somehow the 2-8 team wanted "it" more than them...that's the levee breaking.

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