You are admirably honest, including with yourself, in recognizing that ND had systemic advantages during our first two golden ages. All dynasties in all sports do, and we're not immune to the laws of nature.
The only place where I'd depart from your viewpoint is the suggestion that we no longer have any major advantages today. While not to the level of the past, I think we still do.
ND still has a huge fan base, its own TV show, and a diminished but still meaningful connection to the remaining Catholic high school programs. We also offer the only place in the country, except maybe our "aspirational peer" out West, where you can play big-time college football and get an excellent college education at the same time. This is clearly meaningful not only to a lot of top players, but to their parents as well. The continued ability of Weis and Kelly to attract some top-drawer players shows this is still a big advantage in players' living rooms.
Where I fundamentally agree with you is that we don't have enough of those advantages to arrogantly think we can succeed without an actual football coach. At the bottom line, you're absolutely right.