Charlie's Big Betposted by Scott Engler
Eleven of the nation's elite senior prospects who are still shopping will be on hand Saturday. So will 11 of Notre Dame's 15 committed recruits. And there will be 19 of the nation's top juniors in attendance.Irish Sports Daily reports that some of the top recruits in the country including Seantrel Henderson, Josh Shaw, Louis Nix, Chris Martin and surprise visitor all-world wide receiver and USC commit Kyle Prater will be on campus this weekend. If Charlie can pull it off, he'll likely pull off a top 5 class as well.
Go big or go home.
Wherever the chips fall, you can't fault Weis for shying away from a big game, he's embracing it. And it's just possible his team may make the jump from being able to win to expecting to win. Weis believes that the mindset is changing as he noted in his press conference.
Once again, I'm going reiterate it, I mean, they understand the talent level who they're going against, but I'd say, you know, this is probably the first time since I've been here where the players really believe they're going to win. You know, they might be in the minority but they certainly believe that.While not an absolute must win game for Weis, it's become very important for him to prove he can get more out of his players than the sum of the parts and in the minds of many, this is the game to prove that. A blowout loss to SC might be the end of Charlie's run in South Bend. Weis has to prove he has that leadership intangible or at least that he can nurture it in his team.
The problem for Notre Dame is that while the Irish have looked very good on offense to this point, they haven't played one top defense in five games and USC is a top five defense that HAS owned the Irish. Notre Dame hasn't scored a touchdown against USC since 2006.
On the other side of the ball, USC has been gashing teams with the run and, unfortunately, teams have have been gashing ND with the run. Before the year started it was easy to see that USC's offensive line against our defensive line would be a mismatch and negate ND's clearest advantage, at quarterback. If SC is running the ball for 5 and 6 yards a carry, Matt Barkley won't be forced into tough decisions.
This game will likely be decided, as most games are, up front and on turnovers. If ND's line can protect Clausen, ND can be successful through the air which could open up the ground game. USC's linebackers are so fast, that slow developing plays will be eaten alive, so I hope Charlie's tabled trickery that could go backward. Oregon State beat USC by hitting them up the gut.
Defense wins big games and right now Notre Dame's defense is woeful. To win this game, ND's defensive line will have to play at a completely different level than it has the first five games. The offense doesn't have to make a ton of big plays, more than it has to not make big mistakes and be efficient. Turnovers against the Irish will end this early.
It's been said about other games, but this is Charlie's biggest game. I haven't written very much this season, because I haven't been able to tell very much about this Irish team the first five games.
Everyone's willing to give Charlie a shot, but in year five with a talented team, it's time to either become great or step aside and Weis has made a very big, possibly career making/ending bet on this game.
Here's how I see it:
- Win and the Irish have a very good shot at the BCS and another top five recruiting class.
- Lose a close one and we're back in purgatory.
- Lose big and the Gruden, Saban, Meyer, Kelly talk heats up again, recruits drop off and Weis could end up in a death spiral.
And after more than a few notes from Irish supports, the cover of my book has changed from Trojan colors to a more palatable gold and green. Amazon is still updating this.