The "uncharacteristically weak" opponents part. Nobody thought MSU would go 3-9. Texas was supposed to be better. Stanford was a bit under their recent standards, as was Navy. Duke was very disappointing.
Of course, each of those teams managed to beat ND. But not by much. With even marginally competent coaching, ND could've won 10 or 11 games last year. And even without that basic necessity, 7 of our losses were by 1 TD or less.
Personally, I'm bracing for a repeat of 2000 or 2015. A coach who should've been fired the prior year ends up winning 9-10 games (many of them in spite of some major blunders), only to get exposed and embarrassed in a major bowl game. (In both cases, it was the Fiesta against a team with the initials OSU.)
The 2000 results delayed Davie's discharge one more year, meaning it came two years later than merited. The 2015 results put Kelly's seat in deep freeze. I shudder to think how long Swarbrick will give him if 2017 looks anything like 2000 or 2015.