Hey, Notre Dame, we hear George O'Leary is available.
Well, not technically. The coach of the only winless team in I-A this season still has four years to run on his contract with Central Florida. But since when did Notre Dame care about contracts?
|It appears Urban Meyer thought better of coaching the Irish.(AP)|
All those things would have helped when the school whiffed spectacularly and awkwardly in its attempt to land Urban Meyer. To call South Bend's most holy and honored employer a football factory at this point would be charitable.
Oklahoma is a football factory. So is Tennessee. Florida is too, even if you only count snagging Meyer in a fast-paced battle played out in the skies, streets and hotels of Salt Lake City.
Notre Dame manufactures scholars and captains of industry. But a football factory? The school is now, officially, a leprechaun of its former self.
For the third consecutive coaching search, it sits fumbling for an answer while college football moves past it in the diamond lane. For the third consecutive search it has lost (or fired) its first choice. This search is the worst, if only because it's still going on. The utter arrogance of firing Tyrone Willingham on Tuesday without knowing that Meyer would be a dead-solid perfect lock is staggering.
Never mind a Plan B, how about a plan of any sort after losing Meyer? Jon Gruden is way out of the Irish's league, making $4 million a year with Tampa Bay. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz already has turned down NFL overtures. The Patriots' Charlie Weis is a, gulp, assistant coach.
At least Evel Knievel had a parachute when he took on the Snake River Canyon. Notre Dame strolled into Salt Lake with a briefcase full of dreams, echoes and traditions. Certainly not enough football promise.
Somewhere between romanticizing about the Golden Dome and exercising the painless out clause in his contract, Meyer woke up out of some Pat O'Brien dream. A Catholic named after popes realized what a lot of us already knew: Florida is the better job. Better athletes, better recruiting, better chance to win.