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Wednesday, October 25, 2006
What planet ya from, Charlie?

By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis took time out of his weekly news conference Tuesday to complain about his team dropping in the polls and BCS standings.

While my initial reaction was to simply laugh off Weis' griping, he raised some points and asked a few questions that I felt deserved serious responses.

Charlie Weis
Charlie wasn't a happy camper about the poll results this week.
(The italics are direct quotes pulled from the transcript of Weis' news conference.)

"One of the teams [Tennessee] that jumped us had the same game that we had. They're down, they're playing at home and they win by a field goal. Another team [Florida] that jumped us wasn't even playing. They were at home eating cheeseburgers and they end up jumping us. That befuddles me."

Hey, care to know what befuddles me, Charlie? How the head coach of Notre Dame, a program which has consistently been overrated and ranked higher than it deserved to be for more than a decade -- and for most of the past century -- has the audacity to complain about polls. I mean … wow! That more than befuddles me.

And do you want to know what else befuddles me? How you were able to dupe Notre Dame into giving you a 10-year contract worth nearly $40 million after starting your career 5-2 without a single win against a team that finished the season ranked in the Top 25. That's a bit befuddling. As is the fact that you are regarded as some sort of football god even though the next good team your Fighting Irish beat will be the first. In your tenure you have played three good teams (so much for the perception that Notre Dame plays a brutal schedule, huh?): USC last October, Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and Michigan five weeks ago. You were blown out in two of those three games. But, yeah, you almost beat USC. Congratulations. Heck of a moral victory there. That's exactly why you were hired. For moral victories.

Let's see … what else befuddles me? Oh, yeah: How you claim to hold everything about Notre Dame sacred, yet spend every Saturday afternoon on the sideline dropping F-bombs every other word and cussing out officials, all in the shadow of "Touchdown Jesus" and with a priest standing a few yards away. Sure, that's being a bit picky, I suppose, but I'm #^&*ing befuddled by it nonetheless.

Oh, and you wonder why Tennessee jumped ahead of you? Beside the fact that they're better than you, it might have something to do with the fact that they beat Alabama -- a quality team in the best conference in college football and a longtime rival -- while you slipped past an average team from a bad conference. Just a theory. It might also have something to do with the fact that Tennessee has already beaten three teams this season who are currently ranked (you may recall you have just one such win) and that their only loss was by one point to a very good Florida team while your loss was by 26 -- 26! -- at home to Michigan. So really, if you think about it, the only shock is that you were actually ranked ahead of Tennessee before this week.

And the "home eating cheeseburgers" line? Very clever. But you should probably know that not everyone spends their free time gorging themselves on fast food. It's true. (I know, I know -- this revelation has you "befuddled" yet again.)

Let's continue …

"We go into a game with 27 seconds to go, come from behind, win a thrilling game, and because we win a thrilling game, let's move us down because one team is not playing and the other team had the exact same game, exactly the same. Tell me how that works. Maybe I'm just stupid. Just tell me how that works. You're [a voter], tell me how that works."

Wow. Great reasoning there, Captain Logic. Yes, you were bumped down a few spots in the polls because you won in a "thrilling" fashion. Yep. That's how the voters decide things. "Hmm … it seems Notre Dame won a thrilling game. Guess I'll have to drop them down in my rankings because I hate things that are thrilling." But, hey, I'll throw you a bone here, Logic Boy -- you'd be the unanimous No. 1 team in the country if there were a poll ranking the teams that play the most thrilling games. Many Notre Dame games are extremely thrilling because your team makes a habit out of playing down to its awful competition (oops … there's that easy schedule thing cropping up again).

Do you perhaps instruct your team to play poorly against poor competition to score "thrilling" points and keep the ratings up on NBC so Notre Dame can get another big TV contract so they can afford your overinflated contract? That must be the case, because you are the greatest coach ever. Everyone knows that. And there would be no other explanation as to why you lost to Michigan State last year, and almost again this year. And why you barely slipped by an awful Stanford team last November and a mediocre UCLA squad on Saturday.

Charlie Weis and Brady Quinn
Weis congratulates Brady Quinn on a big win over a mediocre opponent.
But, sorry, you asked that someone tell you how that works and I ignored your question and went off on a tangent. My apologies. So here's how it works. (I'm not a voter, but I have a notion of how it goes.) Voters watch college football games and then at the end of every weekend rank the teams from best to worst as they see fit. Based on this week's polls, the average voter thinks your team is currently no better than 10th or 11th. Understand how it works? It's really quite simple. And, in all honesty, Notre Dame probably is not even deserving of being that high, but the polls are still adjusting to having your team ranked way too high to start the season -- which is sort of a rankings tradition.

And one more thing, since you asked -- no, you're not stupid. But you know you're not stupid. You just think everyone else is. That's why you are so incredibly condescending when you speak. It's part of your "charm."

But let's continue again. I know you have to put in a game plan for your super-tough game against Navy on Saturday, and I don't want to take up a lot of your time.

"Would I love for Notre Dame to play for the national championship this year? Absolutely. Is there a chance that it happens? Remote. Is there a chance? Yeah, there's a chance because any team with one loss has a chance of playing for it. Now a lot of things have to happen now, OK. A lot of things have to happen. But is there a chance? I'd say there's a chance. It's remote. Would you agree with that? It's remote, but would you say there's a chance?"

Yes, Charlie, I'd say there's a chance. I mean, geez, look at your schedule over the next month: at Navy, home versus North Carolina, at Air Force and home against Army. And maybe if you're lucky, you can even fit Temple in there somewhere on a Wednesday. So you should easily get through your next four games and be 10-1 and right in the thick of the national title hunt, with the voters leaving love letters outside your door again.

But wait … what's that I see at the end of your Division I-AA-esque stretch of games? Oooh, bummer. A game against USC. And on the road to boot. Too bad. Oh well -- so maybe there's not a chance that you'll play for the national championship this season. Not that you'd want to. Ohio State or Michigan would crush you. And that would be bad for your image.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Fantasy Sports Monthly, and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book -- "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" -- will be in stores soon.