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COLLEGE FOOTBALL SPOTLIGHT

Charlie Weis could be at end of Notre Dame career

With double-overtime loss to Connecticut, the Fighting Irish coach's career record drops to 35-26, giving him a lower winning percentage than that of his predecessor, Tyrone Willingham.

November 22, 2009|By Austin Knoblauch
  • Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis walks out of the tunnel with his team before the start of Saturday's game against Connecticut.
Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis walks out of the tunnel with his team before… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)

If the past is any indicator, Charlie Weis shouldn't be surprised if his career at Notre Dame is over.

With the Fighting Irish's 33-30 double-overtime loss to Connecticut, Weis' career record dropped to 35-26 -- one loss more than what former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie had when he was fired in 2001. Weis also has a lower winning percentage (.573) than his predecessor, Tyrone Willingham, had when he was axed in 2004.

If Notre Dame decides not to get rid of Weis right away, he might still have a chance to redeem himself with a bowl game victory next month. Unfortunately, it's probably too late for Weis to find redemption.

Three consecutive five-loss seasons may be too big of a gridiron sin to forgive. And, as Weis said on the day Notre Dame hired him, "You're a 6-5 football team. . . . That's not good enough for you, and it's certainly not going to be good enough for me."

Weis declined to talk about his future with the team following the loss to Connecticut.

"Today's not the day for me to reflect on things like that. I really feel absolutely miserable for those 33 guys," said Weis, referring to the team's seniors. "I'll worry about me tomorrow."

Notre Dame wouldn't fire anyone on a Sunday. But Weis might want to flip through his NFL Rolodex on Monday.

Big House isn't big enough

Apparently, the tunnels at the "Big House" aren't big enough for "The Game."

Before Ohio State's 21-10 win over Michigan, Buckeyes receiver Grant Schwartz and Wolverines running back Michael Shaw bumped shoulders in the tunnel leading to the field.

Each one had a few choice words for the other about the other's apparent mismanagement of space.

Schwartz, a Dana Hills High graduate, turned around and quickly muttered a few words before making his way back to the locker room. Shaw, who was walking through the tunnel with a certain arrogant swagger that comes when your team is tied for last place in the Big Ten, also did some trash talking as he continued toward the field.

Still, they weren't the only ones who couldn't keep their mouth guards in.

Several Ohio State players were seen chatting with Michigan fans in the final seconds, no doubt reminding the Wolverines faithful about the team's second consecutive losing season, which hadn't happened since 1962-63.

Don't mess with Paterno

The BCS would be smart not to get on Joe Paterno's bad side.

Following the Nittany Lions' 42-14 victory over Michigan State, Paterno made a persuasive argument for Penn State's hopes of being awarded a BCS at-large slot.

"Pick us," the longtime Penn State coach said. "Maybe I could get on the phone and call somebody and say, 'you owe me one,' or 'you might find a horse's head in your bed.' "

Another fourth-down mistake

Yale's idea of clever play-calling needs some tinkering.

Leading 10-7 with 2:25 left in the game, the Bulldogs botched a fake punt on fourth down from their 26, allowing Harvard to take over at the Yale 40. Harvard quarterback Collier Winters then connected with receiver Chris Lorditch on a 32-yard touchdown pass three plays later to give the Crimson a 14-10 victory.

After the game, first-year Yale Coach Tom Williams took the blame for Yale's eighth loss in the last nine games to its longtime rival. "The whole idea was to keep our foot on the pedal and not play scared."

Williams elected to go for it even though Yale punter Tom Mante was leading the Ivy League in average yards per punt.

This raises the question: Are Williams and New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick friends?

More coaches blame themselves

Perhaps Louisiana State should consider offering graduate degrees in clock management.

Mississippi scored a 25-23 upset over the Tigers after LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson failed to spike the ball before time expired following a 43-yard catch. The game ended with the Tigers looking dumbfounded and frustrated on the Mississippi six-yard line.

"I can only tell you that the management at the back end of the game was the issue," LSU Coach Les Miles said. "It's my fault that we didn't finish first in that game."

Despite LSU's timing problems, the last-minute drive made for great entertainment for fans and coaches alike.

"You were holding your breath on every play," Mississippi Coach Houston Nutt said.

The Rebels have beaten the Tigers in consecutive years for the first time since 1999.

In need of attention?

While Clemson's C.J. Spiller's on-field skills appear to be good enough for Heisman Trophy consideration, his coach has a plan to bring even more attention to his star running back.

Borrowing an idea from Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney says Spiller should consider changing his name.

"I am going to officially change [Spiller's] name, in hopes of creating more awareness, he is officially, 'Dos Ocho,' two-eight," Swinney joked. "Maybe some people will figure him out then."

Fortunately, Spiller won't have to change his name or jump into the stands at a South Carolina game to get noticed. His 836 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns make him worthy for Heisman contention.

austin.knoblauch@latimes.com

Associated Press contributed to this report

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