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A rivalry on shaky ground?

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That is the opinion of L.A. Times columnist Bill Dwyer.

The late and beloved Marv Goux, longtime Trojans assistant coach and emotional compass for legions of 'SC fans for years, summed up USC-Notre Dame best.

"It's big man on big man, best against best," Goux would growl. Grown men with rooting interests on either side would ball up their fists and get teary-eyed.

Now, five days from the teams' 80th meeting, men (and women) on the Leprechaun side are balling up their fists, all right. But in anger. Those riding the Trojan Horse to yet another season of success are merely dismayed. Both know the hard truth.

This rivalry is on shaky ground.

That doesn't mean they will stop playing anytime soon, even if the embarrassment factor starts to become a real issue. Case in point: Syracuse 24, Notre Dame 23.

Things will go on for a while simply because hope springs as eternal as the need for TV ratings and the need to fill a couple of stadiums with more than 80,000 people every year.

But let's face it. This is starting to look like the Russian army against David and his slingshot.

Take it easy Bill...things are cyclical. It happens Dwyer is an old Notre Dame war horse so he is nostalgic for his alma mater and that's fine.

Yes, this is looks to be a pretty bad ND program, supposedly the talent is there, as Charlie Weis has suposedly had some pretty good recruiting classes. The disconnect though is that for all this "talent" they don't don't do anything with it. ND has only 4 first round picks taken in the NFL draft in the past 10 years. Of course that's not all on Weis, he has only been there 4 years but the problem it would appear is Weis not being able to coach that su[posed talent up. All the hype in regards to his coaching up Tom Brady looks to be more of a mirage. Love him or hate him but Bill Belechick knows how to coach and aquire talent too so it isn't just the masterful Charlie Weis.

The other problem is the magnification of the sport. When ND was running their streak up against USC to 13 in the 80's and 90's we didn't have blogs, online papers or instant updates on Sports Center. Now everyone has an opinion and it makes the chorus seem that much louder.

Even some ND bloggers have made up their minds that its time to for Weis to move on. (This is a great read!)

[B]ack when Ty Willingham, Kevin White, and Monk Malloy were doing their best to kill off the football program, many argued that it was akin to eliminating one of the pillars of Notre Dame. Really, a mediocre football program is more akin to a massive crack in the foundation of the institution. And so we must demand better. We must demand excellence. We must demand that the program be lead by those who are capable of excellence. Charlie Weis does not meet that criteria.

I will not vilify Charlie Weis. He’s a fellow Notre Dame alum. He probably works as hard as any other head coach in the nation. And, frankly, I kind of like the guy. So if you’re here to read about how awful a person Charlie Weis happens to be, or how I can’t stand his arrogance, or my recount of various Charlie Weis quotations that look so naive in hindsight, then you’ll be disappointed. I’ll leave that sort of thing to the cognitively weak among us while they pock sentences with all-caps words and multiple question marks. It doesn’t serve any purpose. Charlie Weis’ own record says all that needs to be said. Weis’ loss to a 2-8 Syracuse and a fired coach with a career .200 winning record was simply the gratuitous exclamation mark on a simple premise: Charlie Weis is not a good enough college football coach to head the Notre Dame football program.

Let that sit there for minute...

Each and every program in the nation goes through 40 years in the desert looking for its savior. ND has has a fan base that cuts far and wide so watching this spectacle has to be pretty painful for them and because there is such a thirst for ND NBC rolled the dice to give them exclusivity so it is that much more magnified that this program has really hit rock bottom.

SC will continue to schedule ND because at some point ND will get better and make it the rivalry competitive again. Yes, its ugly now but it won't stay ugly forever. ND will find the right coach who will be able to coach the talent available while putting their own stamp on a proud program. Of course as an SC fan it is easy to hate your rival but these two programs are joined at the hip. SC needs ND to get better if for no other reason that they have played some great games in the past.