Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ty vs. Chuck 2008 style!

This weekend of college football brings us several games that will go a long way to decide who will play in the BCS Championship game this January. Hidden in these games is a little ol' show down in Seattle, WA. Charlie Weis brings his Fightin' Irish to Husky Stadium to face former Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham.

As Notre Dame continued their historic slide in 2007, the national media, blogs, and fans of ND and U Dub made comparisons of Ty and Charlie's records in their first three years as Notre Dame's coach.

What a difference a year makes! Today that conversation is null and void. Tyrone's 0-6 Huskies have continued to disappoint fans while Notre Dame has begun, very slightly, to show signs of improvement.

While last year's popular comparison is moot, the relationship between the coaches first four years at their respective institutions still merits discussion. Not for their specific records on the field, but for the joys and heartache each have brought to their fans. With this in mind we have created a graph to relate visually the roller coaster ride Husky and Irish Fans have faced. Enjoy your ride!

Charlie Weis

Coach Weis was welcomed with open arms by Notre Dame fans in 2005! Finally someone from the "Irish family" was taking over the reigns of the fledgling program! Notre Dame had snagged themselves the next Bill Parcells! South Bend erupts!

a. Notre Dame is soo giddy with Weis' performance that after ONLY seven games into the 2005 season they ink Chuck to a 10 year contract worth $30-40 million, through the 2015 season. Charlie is quoted as saying he will be at Notre Dame until his son graduates from South Bend.

b. The Irish go 9-2 in Charlie's first season and earn a trip to a BCS Bowl. Even though they lost the Fiesta Bowl to Ohio State, 35-20, they still finish 2005 ranked #9 in the AP and #11 in the Coaches' Poll. Charlie is named Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year. Catholics rejoice!

c. April, 2006 - Showing up in a limo, sporting a great looking suit, and spiked hair, the number one recruit in the country, QB Jimmy Clausen, officially commits to Charlie and ND. Fans begin talk of "Christ in Cleats Part II."

d. 2006 brings ND an easy schedule, a 10-2 record, and a second consecutive BCS Bowl game.

e. The Irish are outmatched by a faster, stronger and more athletic LSU Tiger team in the Sugar Bowl resulting in 41-14 blow out. Eyebrows are raised at the fact the Irish haven't won a bowl game since 1994.

f. Notre Dame's season is summed up with an overtime loss to Navy. First since the days of Staubach. Notre Dame faces first 9 loss season in their history. Irish fans are so embarrassed they volunteer themselves to be buried at sea!

g. Good news from 2007? The Irish beat 1-11 Duke and 4-8 Stanford to avoid the worst season in the history of Notre Dame football. Even with these victories the BCS still doesn't find a bowl spot for the 3-9 team. America laughs, and laughs, and laughs, and...

h. Another top ten recruiting class and a new season brings back limited optimism.

Bringing us to present day. Though Charlie has been knocked down this year, he has managed to negotiate an easier schedule and the program is showing signs of improvement. Fans are currently content.

Tyrone Willingham

Ty was hired in much different circumstances. Hired to do two jobs, improve and clean up a 1-10 team. Washington was still paying for two coaches and was looking to buy low and no one was cheaper than the media bashed, ex-Notre Dame coach.

t. Season ends a disappointing 2-9, however it is twice as many wins as 2004!

u. In 2006 the Dawgs get off to a 4-1 start their only loss was a close one to #15 OU, in Norman. Bowl arrangements are beginning to be made!

v. Washington lose starting QB, blow 6 in a row, and end with an embarrassing 20-3 loss to Ty's former team, Stanford. The Cardinal's first victory in one calendar year and first in Seattle since 1975.

w. Quarterback "Montlake Jake" Locker, the "Tim Tebow of the West," makes his much anticipated Husky debut as the Dawgs race out to a 2-0 start including a win against BCS spoiler #22 Boise State. Tickets sales are through the roof!

x. Season finishes 4-9 when a last second drive to tie Hawaii falls short. Half the fans want Ty gone, half want him to stay. A $100,000 bounty is placed on Ty's head. After promising president "team would be more competitive" in 2008 president allows him to stay. Fans take a collective groan/sigh.

y. Best recruiting class in years. Young talented team with a stud at QB brings more optimism to fans. It is amazing how a long off season heals wounds.

z. An excessive celebration penalty at the end of regulation against BYU aids a Cougar block of tieing extra point attempt. Jake breaks thumb and season spirals out of control. Willingham's remaining time at Washington is about as useless as W's final months in DC.

It has been a long, turbulent four years for both programs. It appears obvious now that Notre Dame made the right move in 2005 and Washington made the wrong one. On Saturday, Ty has at least one opportunity to have a last word.

Unfortunately it will only be for pride, as a victory won't do much to change the coarse of this roller coaster for either side.

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