are related to recruiting: that we are seen as old and stodgy by young people, that we can't accept many of the top athletes due to academics or character issues, or we don't have a bag man. But we are still putting in top 10(-ish) recruiting classes, so I think any discussion needs to explain why top ten recruiting doesn't equate to top ten results.
Also, I wouldn't count things like "poor leadership" or "injuries" because that is not woven into who we are.
1) Our students have to continue academic excellence once they get here. I don't think academics prevents us from attracting top talent (if anything it helps) but it is possible that the focus on academics limits their development as football players. Note - This is critical to who we are - just because it is a disadvantage doesn't mean I would have it any other way.
2) The academic entrance requirements also hurts in the JUCO category. Other schools can use JUCOs to quickly fix a roster hole. That option is rarely available to us.
3) The weather. I'm not sure how much of a factor it is, but of the top 15 recruiting schools in recent years, only OSU and ND get significant amounts of snow. Yes I realize this contradicts my first paragraph. I'm including it anyway. I don't know if it is just a recruiting issue or if it affects the mentality and development of the players in the winter months.
4) The variety of teams we play and the distances we travel. It has to be hard to plan for a Big Ten, Pac-10, ACC and Navy in the span of several weeks. Of course, this has it's advantages too, and made us what we are.
5) We have too much pride to play a FCS school. It would be nice to have a game or two a year that could be used just to get the backups some reps and let the team build their confidence.
1) In recruiting, we still offer things that no other school can offer. Not just great academics but a school that encourages you to take advantage of it. History. Tradition. Name recognition. A beautiful campus.
2) Passionate students and alumni. We worry that ND football is dying due to apathy. I've seen it said here that students today don't even know how great ND football can be. This years freshman class was born in Lou's last year. But they know. They haven't tasted it yet, but they know. And there will always be people who want to make ND great again.
3) Money. We don't even know what to do with all this money, so we build huge frickin buildings that nobody wants. Wait, maybe this is a disadvantage.
4) Independence. We control our fate like no other school does.