I've been feeling understandably melancholy about the state of ND football for the past two weeks, as I'm sure you can imagine. You might also imagine that there are other words besides "melancholy" running through my head when I think about this season, and you're probably right, but for the moment, melancholy is what I am.
I am not relieved that Charlie is gone. I am...other things.
I'm overwhelmingly disappointed that this season did not work out as it could have. We seem to have lost some crucial elements of ND football that make it feel like the tradition that it is. We should not be losing to Navy. We should not have to take every game down to the wire. We should not have seniors standing on the sideline on Senior Day staring at a field that, after four years of work, blood, sweat, tears, injuries, and sacrificing hours upon hours of study time/energy/youth, they will never get to play on. Not one snap, not one down, nothing. That, to me, is the biggest tragedy of this season. And last season. Even the year we went 3-9, we won on Senior Day. And there's just no excuse for that. There's no excuse for not wanting to win on Senior Day as badly as the other team.
I mean, okay, so maybe the other teams get hyped up because they're playing Notre Dame. But, um, in the words of Lou: HELLO, you get to represent Notre Dame! There's no greater motivation than that.
And--ugh--we got SO CLOSE. We were so close, all season, to being what we might have been. And we never broke through that last barrier.
So, we ended the season 6-6, but we were about half a quarter of football away from being undefeated.
We are also equally that far away from being 2-8.
And that puts us right where we belong -- at .500.
And, ladies and gentlemen, there is just nothing more depressing than mediocrity.
Because, you know, you COULD be great, but...you're not.
And you could be the biggest effing pile of shit you've ever seen, but...you're not that, either.
You're right smack-dab in the damn middle, and the worst part is--you look at all these players we've got, at the season Jimmy and Golden and Armando, and McCarthy and Te'o, have had despite the way the games have gone, and you look at how experienced our O-line is (or is supposed to be), and you think to yourself-- WHAT THE HELL? Why not a BCS year? Why and how and when did Notre Dame fall so far as to be practically irrelevant except for our history, our TV contract, and our widespread (and totally BALLER) fan base?
And I'm not sad to see Charlie go, in a sense, but I am despondent. I am afraid that we will have another five years and more of the same and I just can't help feeling like I'll be skeptical for the next three seasons until something's proven again.
Plus with all the wild speculation about Jimmy and Golden leaving, and knowing Crist isn't really going to be healthy until the start of next season, and wondering who the hell is going to coach our defense and with Mama Kyle departing.... It is time for a change but I am not necessarily glad and I am not necessarily confident that we will go where we want to go.
Swarbrick seems to know what he wants and he certainly acts like he knows what he's doing and there is every possibility that he looked at next year's schedule and said, "What the hell, why NOT Western Michigan?" because he knew he'd be getting a new head coach long before it seemed Charlie's time was truly up, and he thought he might as well pave an easy road for next year's newbie at the helm. I mean, I'd hate to think that's true, but also in a twisted way it would give me more respect for the whole BS Western Michigan decision if it WERE true. It's all useless speculation of course, and based on absolutely nothing...
Don't mind me, really; like I said, I'm despondent.
So. Just thought I'd drivel on with those thoughts for a while. I have some other things to say about the last two games, which I figure I'll cover some time between now and when we figure out whether or not we're going to a bowl game, and whether or not that bowl game is (most depressing of all possible outcomes) in Detroit. Hopefully the next time I blather on about ND football I'll have something more cohesive and useful to say. But for now, I'm just another member of the bleeding hearts club.
Which is unfortunate, because all season long here I was thinking that it was my spleen that wouldn't survive the season intact.