Someone help Charlie Weis. Poor guy is probably beside himself right about now. Well, "poor" is a bit of a misnomer, $30 million contract and all. But you know what I mean.
Listen, I'm the last guy who is going to drum up sympathy for Notre Dame. They have their own lucrative television contract, they can schedule anyone they want, and they have a tremendous recruiting edge because of the aforementioned television contract.
("Listen, kid. You can come to South Bend, where every one of your games will be televised nationally. The majority of them are on over-the-air TV. NBC has our home games, and our road games always get lots of attention because Notre Dame equals ratings. Or, you can go to Purdue, where any games not picked up by ESPN end up on ESPN 360 or the Big Ten Network, which have a combined reach of about 37.")
However, it's hard to say anything good about Weis' coaching this year. While teams like Ohio State are making plenty of noise with inexperienced starters, the Irish just look lost. Jimmy Clausen is going to be a pretty good college quarterback, but that's not going to happen as long as the running game, offensive line, and wide receivers all stink.
I know Weis isn't going anywhere, because he's signed long-term, and he's allegedly the savior of the program and all. It's just worth noting that this team is 0-3, awful, and still facing the toughest portion of their schedule.
Not even the green jerseys can save them now.
More on the Patriots. It wasn't really much of a shock that the bulk of NFL pregame programming Sunday was focused on the issue last week involving the Patriots. There are clear issues facing the league right now, and after seeing commissioner Roger Goodell on NBC last night, I am convinced that this guy is ready to face those issues.
(By the way, the Patriots kicked the living crap out of San Diego. That's what we all get for making them mad. Of course, the fact that they're a really good football team had nothing to do with their success.)
While Goodell tried to evade some of Bob Costas' questioning, he gave us some very important information regarding the case. Goodell confirmed that he expects the Patriots to turn over all files and tapes and such related to the case, and he said he's prepared to up their punishment if they don't. When Costas reacted skeptically to the order, Goodell reiterated that he expects New England to comply.
As an outsider, his response struck me as the equivalent to a parent saying "Because I said so". Goodell sees himself as the league's main authority figure, and he's absolutely unafraid of flexing his muscles. Not only will he flex, but he expects that his orders will be followed to the letter. The bottom line is that Goodell expects the threat of further punishment to be enough to make New England compliant. We can question the wisdom of that, but I have no reason to believe that Goodell will stand for being disobeyed.
Also, Goodell confirmed to Costas that he indeed has reserved the right to add to the punishment if he sees fit. This is a perfect response. No beating around the bush. He just laid it out there. Clearly, Patriots fans aren't going to be happy with the possibility that this story isn't done yet. But Goodell came across as determined to complete a thorough investigation into this issue.
I salute that, even if I'm still a bit skeptical that he'll uncover everything he's searching for.
Here it is, BlogPollers. I'm throwing out a challenge. It's for all of you who voted for USC as the top team in early polls, then picked someone else for #1 last week as punishment to USC for daring to have a bye week. Oh, how dare they!
Anyway, who's your choice this week? Oklahoma showed nothing because they played the fourth-best team in Utah (you've seen nothing until you've seen that Southern Utah juggernaut in action). LSU showed nothing except that they have a better defense than Louisville, but I think we all knew that.
USC, meanwhile, stomped all over Nebraska in Lincoln. Handed the Huskers their worst home loss since 2003, but this may have been worse. There are expectations with this team. Not only that, but this one happened in prime-time on national television, with tons of buildup.
In terms of USC's program, it's one of the more impressive wins they've had. Undoubtedly, beating a contender to a pulp on the road is more impressive than beating a contender to a pulp at home.
(I have no answers on this. I voted for USC at #1 last week, and I'm keeping them there this week. Ballot tomorrow or later today or whatever.)
The Packers are 2-0. It hasn't happened since 2001, so let me rejoice a tad. The Pack beat up the suddenly hapless Giants 35-13 Sunday, and they did it with that washed-up oldhead Favre throwing for three scores and hitting his first 14 passes of the second half. Man, I wish that guy hadn't lost it so decisively.
The Packers host an angry San Diego team Sunday, but it's not a lost cause. The Chargers have struggled to run the ball in the first two weeks, and outside of TE Antonio Gates, they don't pose a great threat in the passing game. That defense, however, is potentially the toughest the Pack will face this year (outside of perhaps the Bears). The Chargers have the personnel to cause Favre a lot of problems, and the Packers will get him broken in half if they're not careful.
That said, this is a time to enjoy the start. It's a good one.