Losing by 24 to a 9-3 ASU team, losing at home to a 5-7 NW team, and losing by 35 (that could've been worse) to an 8-4 USC team is as bad of a stretch as I can recall, esp. w/ the UL loss thrown in there. Even successful ND HC's suffer troughs like Parseghian's last 2 games in '72 and Holtz's last 3 in '87. This stretch, however, is one is much more akin to the tenures of any of BK's 3 predecessors.
This team had 1 quality game*, 1 mediocre game, and 8 bad games in its last 10 contests. At the time, sleepwalking past the likes of PU, Syr, and NC were disappointments. Like Kroger's GPA in the context of the Delta pledge class, they now look like major achievements in the context of the last 4 games.
Devine's 5th year (his obvious trough) finished w/ a rout @ TN, a home loss to Clemson, and a rout of Miami in Tokyo. It was my sr. year, and it was a HUGE disappointment in the context of the program at the time, esp. since Irish had won bowl games against quality competition in 3 prior years. ND lost @ home to USC that year 42-23, but the game was closer than score, and that USC team featured 2 Heisman winners and a slew of other talented players.
Anyone remotely familiar w/ program history knows that BK is a dead man walking at this point. The plug was pulled 1 year too late w/ his immediate predecessor. I wonder what will happen this time.
*Given FSU's narrow escapes against mediocre opponents in each of its last 3 games, outplaying them there isn't as impressive as it seemed at time.
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