Thank you, Charlie Weis

Charlie Weis is gone, and now Notre Dame can look forward to the future.

Before we start to look for the future coach of America's Biggest College Football team (Kirk Herbstreit's pronouncement on College Gameday that Notre Dame was an 'irrelevant' program was absolute rubbish - do you hear us talking this much about Al Groh, Steve Kragthorpe, or Bobby Bowden??), we'll look at the past.

Penn State faced Notre Dame during Charlie Weis' reign. Brady Quinn took us apart in South Bend in 2006, and Penn State returned the favour in front of the legendary 'White Out' crowd on a beautiful fall evening in 2007.

Notre Dame's record against USC was an 0-5 disaster, but the first game and final games of that series were incredibly close.

He ended the Irish's woeful bowl record with a hammering of Hawaii earlier this year, and he's made Jimmy Clausen potentially a top five pick (hell, Cleveland, St Louis and Buffalo all need a Hawaii), and Golden Tate and Michael Floyd will also be choice first rounders, too.

The problem with Weis is that Notre Dame fans have this unbelievable expectation that they should be challenging for a National Title every year. And considering that they play USC every year - plus Michigan (if they are doing well it's a nightmare), that's not easy. They manage to avoid playing SEC teams - or do SEC teams avoid playing the Irish?

And if we're honest, this season, we could well have been talking about a National Title. Every game the Irish lost was a heartbreaker (or made you giggle - depending on your sympathies).

The coach with the biggest future is, sadly, the coach who can persuade Notre Dame's academic staff to loosen up the rules a little for their athletes. Why? Because players would rather go on a four-year SEC, Texas or USC vacation where they can concentrate on playing 'ball' rather than actually go to class and do difficult classes.

I'll say this: Notre Dame fans need to be good. But College Football needs Notre Dame to be good, too.

Anyway, here's a memory of the greatest game of Charlie Weis' career - in 2005 against USC. And it's no surprise that Notre Dame lost the 'close one' was it?