"Everything is terrible and nothing can fix this pain."
I have to wonder right now... Are Notre Dame football fans depressed? It would be easy to think that's the case if you scroll through the message boards, comment sections, and social media posts. Notre Dame fans are lonely, sad, sensitive, and can lash out at any minute. Just trying to read or search for anything Notre Dame related on the internet right now is an exercise in patience and sin-eating. How much can we take?
Notre Dame is 1-2, unranked, young, soft, and has at least 9 games left in the season. At some point this week, Notre Dame fans are going to have to dig deep and figure out what they want out of this season. Before fans do that, they need to sort out some facts first:
- Brian Kelly is not getting fired after this season.
- Brian VanGorder is not getting fired during the season.
- There will be no playoffs.
- Notre Dame is going to give up a ton of points this season.
- DeShone Kizer is unbelievable.
- The narrative of this season could have been drastically different by a changed result in no more than 10 plays.
- You are a fan of college football.
That last point can be debated by some, but I'll give each of you reading this the benefit of the doubt and put you squarely in that column.
Now, using those facts alone, give a diagnosis for Notre Dame football this season. What CAN they do to salvage the season? What realistic changes (keep it real y'all) can be made to end the regular season 9-3 or 10-2?
There was a question posed this offseason and it was something like: "Would you be happy with a 9-3 record with wins over Stanford and USC?"
A lot of people agreed that at least in a season with three losses, wins over those two schools would not just give them hope, but would be satisfying enough to, well... be kind of happy.
I'm not suggesting any possible outcome for the season just yet. Notre Dame has a game this week in which they should absolutely bury the opponent- but we have heard that song song before. I am merely trying to take one of the great joys in life (major college football) and find some happiness inside of that sphere.
I don't know... maybe I am being ridiculous and on the edge of being "Joe Super Fan McDouche," but I just can't cash in the season after 8 months of waiting. There has to be something to work towards or something to hope for, otherwise I'm not sure what I or anyone else is doing here.
It's gut check time for the team, but it's also gut check time as fans. We should ABSOLUTELY call it like we see it. If the offensive line looks soft- we should say so. If the defense has a string of really good defensive stops- we should say so. Just because I am suggesting that we become a little more fan-like rather than talking-head-like, does not mean we should put up with or accept pure crap.
It's a delicate balance, and it's confusing. How do we cheer on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as fans that know better? This is our quest, and our duty for the remainder of the season. Maybe in seven weeks we will look back at this moment and laugh- maybe we will be even more pissed. Who knows?