Friday, November 14, 2008

Critical Mass | by Jay

The best movie rating aggregator on the web for my money is Metacritic. Each week they comb through movie reviews, size up the sanguinity of each critic, and assign 0-100 ratings to reach an average score for each movie. It's a hell of a lot more precise (and fun) than a simple yea-or-nay system (like Rotten Tomatoes), and when it's all tallied up it gives you a pretty good sense of whether or not the movie is worth the nine bucks.

With seemingly everyone in the universe opining on the stability or fragility of Charlie Weis after the blanking at Boston College, we thought we'd pull together a little Metacritic-style rundown of the various opinions floating around this week, and take the temperature of the football media. Here's how a slew of pundits are currently regarding the big man and the relative security of his continued employment.

77 Chris Fowler, ESPN
It would be idiotic for Notre Dame to fire Charlie Weis this year. Idiotic. Wouldn't make a bit of sense...Now, if we are sitting here a year from now, and the Irish are again out of the BCS bowl hunt, that is a different conversation. But Notre Dame is getting players. Weis has been afforded some recruiting advantages his immediate predecessors did not have. Give Weis more time, but 2009 shapes up as a pretty crucial year for him.

42 Mike Downey, Chicago Tribune
Nevada is next season's first foe...Imagine the ignominy of a Nevada team coming to South Bend and being favored to win. "The one thing you have to be willing to do is you have to be willing to change and listen and go in a different direction," Weis recently said. "If there's a better way of doing it, that's the way you've got to do it." To change the coach in 2009 could be a good place to start.

28 Tom Pagna, Blue and Gold
As it now appears, the Irish squad seems anything but unified...When you slide by Navy and maul Syracuse, don’t wear your medals of honor in the public view trying to make all believe the ship is righted, the mutiny avoided.

78 Jeff, the Blue-Gray Sky
Barring a collapse at the end of the season (translated: losses to Navy and Syracuse), I think anyone that has passed judgment on Weis now is jumping the gun. If Weis is as smart as I think he is, he will realize the errors he's made, make adjustments, and the team will be better next season.

54 John Walters, NBC
The Irish will be better next season because these players will be more experienced. And because the schedule is 300-thread count soft (Washington and Washington State? Really?). But will they be better because of the coaching? Weis said yesterday, in effect, that he is the right man for the job because the arrow is pointing up, and that the arrow is pointing up because he has pretty good players. That should alarm you. That’s like a car salesman convincing me that I should buy the car because he’s an excellent salesman. It’s not about the salesman; it’s about the car.

19 Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Notre Dame is a special place, with a mix of football tradition and academic excellence matched perhaps only by Michigan and USC. But Weis is not a special coach and certainly hasn't seemed worthy of walking in the footsteps of Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian and Holtz. The sooner Notre Dame admits its colossal mistake and sends Weis back to New Jersey, the better.

88 mhb, Rakes of Mallow
Talent and time build good football teams. We've got the talent on the field. We keep bringing in more talent. It's not like our coaches are talentless, they did have other jobs before they were chosen to come to ND. We need time. They'll get it. And here's a newsflash: We might not compete for a national championship next year. But I believe that we'll be a darn fine looking football team. And the year after that. And the year after that.

62 Jason Kelly, South Bend Tribune
...he has positioned the program at an uncomfortable, but increasingly familiar crossroads. With more time than Willingham, but less than Davie, he has taken the Irish on a long and winding trip right back to where he found them. Two BCS appearances and a strong recruiting track record might even mean that, on balance, he has nudged Notre Dame forward a step or two. That and the lack of an "Urban Meyer" on the landscape probably should grant Weis the reprieve Willingham did not receive. Continuity could be the prudent course this time. As just the latest in a list of coaches who have puffed up optimism only to see it deflate on his watch, though, his margin of error narrows with every misstep.

81 Bill Brink, The Observer
Give the man time. He's shown what he can do when the pieces were in place. Now, graduation and youth have upset the playing board and scattered the pieces every which way. Weis has spent the last two seasons picking them up, slowly but surely. Once he finds a home not only for the pieces of the team, but for himself, he'll control a potent football team with a great deal of talent.

70 Mike Hutton, Gary Post-Tribune
If you're in charge of safe-keeping ND football, are you ready to undertake the massive job of finding the right guy? Have they reached the tipping point yet? I don't think so. It's definitely gotten hotter in that kitchen for Weis, but he still has enough support in the administration and with alumni and people that matter to coach another year to try to get it right.

51 Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame Athletic Director (and here)
There have been times where the rate of progress looked great...There are times where we take a step back. That's not unusual for sports, and especially not unusual for a young team like ours. It's never linear. It's never smooth. We're clearly a lot better than we were last year. That's what you're looking for. You're looking for progress. [Anyone who suggests a coaching change could occur should know that it is] not under consideration at this time...It's really dangerous to evaluate midyear.

79 Mike Nadel, Register-Mail
Weis has seven years left on his contract and reportedly would have to be paid at least $20 million if he’s fired. It almost surely won’t happen - nor should it. Just as predecessor Tyrone Willingham shouldn’t have been fired after only three years, four isn’t enough time to judge Weis. Anybody with common sense - and without a pitchfork and torch - knows it. This is as much about patience, perspective and continuity as it is about Weis.

61 Mike Lopresti, USA Today
The athletic director was quoted Wednesday as issuing a show of support. It is too early to call for the axe, and the idea of buying out a coach with seven years left on his contract would make any accountant gag. Charlie Weis is not JPMorgan Chase bank. But it is starting to get late.

08 Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports
Weis is a bully and a coward, and his well-timed announcement that he would abandon this "head coach stuff" so he could bail out his offense proves my contentions. He's planning on the Irish averaging 35 points the next two weeks and selling his impatient fan base on the myth that he's making real progress. He's hoping the media will assist him in selling this lie...Weis is in over his head coaching the college game.

54 Ivan Maisel, ESPN
As for this season, it's hard to imagine that Weis will be in trouble, even if the Irish lose to the Midshipmen and go 6-6. New athletic director Jack Swarbrick isn't likely to pull that trigger only a few weeks into the job. But just the fact that the speculation about Weis has begun again gives you pause.

55 HTownND,
Unlike Willingham, Weis has worked his ass off. The results may not be perfect, but it's not from a lack of effort. Weis isn't playing golf when he should be working. Weis isn't on vacation when recruits are showing up to campus. He's organized, meticulous, and he's busted his ass for our University. No matter what happens, I'll support Weis simply because unlike his predecessors, he hasn't actively sought to diminish or change ND. He may fall short of our expectations, but it won't be because he doesn't embrace those expectations, and it won't be because he didn't work his ass off. Things aren't good right now, and I really hope that Weis can fix them. If he can't, a change will be made, but until the day that change takes place, I'll support my fellow alum.

That all averages out to a cool 56. As for me? Ask me in a couple of games. For now, this about sums up my state of mind.