There have already been a lot of surprises early in the college football season and one of them has to be the 0-2 start of Notre Dame. Most folks understood that the Fighting Irish might struggle somewhat this season because of all the talent they lost from last year's squad.
However, I don't think many expected a start this slow. They have lost to Penn State and Georgia Tech by a combined score of 64-13, and the offense has not scored a touchdown yet. Given the reputation of head coach Charlie Weis as an offensive genius, this is especially surprising.
If Notre Dame's season continues to crumble, Coach Weis could be on the hot seat. He is in his third season and had quite a bit of success in his first two years. However, as we all know, major programs do not have much patience with losing.
Weis' predecessor was Tyrone Willingham. Willingham had winning seasons in his first and third seasons but was fired after that third season with an overall record of 21-15. If Weis is held to the same standard as Willingham, his job could be in jeopardy if he leads them to a losing record.
In his first two years, Weis had his success with players recruited by the previous coaching staff. Stars like quarterback Brady Quinn won a lot of games for Weis, but they were not recruited by him. This year, many of the players are ones recruited by Weis and the results have not been good so far.
True, the team is young and inexperienced, but programs like Notre Dame expect to re-load and not go through major rebuilding seasons. At least, that is what they like to say.
The curious aspect of all this will be if Notre Dame does post a losing record and Weis does not get fired. They will be opening themselves up to charges of a double standard because they will not be treating him like Willingham.
Where this could get especially ticklish is that the school could be charged with racism. Willingham is black and had a successful track record as head coach at Stanford before coming to Notre Dame. Weis is white and had no head coaching experience in college football before he got the job.
Thus, it will appear that Notre Dame will be showing greater flexibility and patience with a white coach with no previous experience than it showed with a black coach who had better credentials.
By the way, Willingham is now in his third season at the University of Washington where he is slowly but surely rebuilding the program. The Huskies are 2-0 this year and beat nationally ranked Boise State last weekend.
I would be willing to bet that that has been noticed by some folks at Notre Dame.
Obviously, there is a lot of football left to be played, and given Notre Dame's track record, they can still pull out a winning record. If they don't, things could get interesting.