Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 2, 2015 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 110 of 111

THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI anyone. Even Urban Meyer had a 7‑5 season at Florida. Even Knute Rockne was 5‑4 in 1928, or Frank Leahy 4‑4‑1 in 1950 and 7‑2‑2 in 1942. If it happens to the elite, it will happen to everyone. • Two top‑25 finishes out of those five seasons. That translates pretty much into 9‑4 — like 2013, with a No. 20 AP finish — or 10‑3, which could even get you into the top 15. • The final two should be top‑10 fin‑ ishes — and at least one season out of those five you want bona fide national title contention. I define that as going into the last game of the regular season you are legitimately in College Foot‑ ball Playoff conversation (like TCU and Baylor were last year even though they didn't make it). • In one season out of those five, win one major bowl or be in the Col‑ lege Football Playoff. Many have responded that these standards are too low for Notre Dame, and that is accurate when the program is at a peak. However, as a base, it's still a fairly realistic standard to mea‑ sure. In Holtz's last five seasons (1992‑96), he had a 1994 clunker (6‑5‑1), two top‑25 finishes in 1995 and 1996 with three‑loss campaigns, a top‑10 place‑ ment in 1992 (10‑1‑1) and a bona fide title contention in 1993 before finish‑ ing No. 2. Dan Devine's last five seasons (1976‑80) saw a 7‑4 clunker with no bowl in 1979, a top‑25 finish with a 9‑3 mark in 1976, two top‑10 showings at 9‑3 in 1978 and 9‑2‑1 in 1980 while playing arduous schedules, and the national title contention (and victory) in 1977 and 1980. Ara Parseghian's last five seasons (1970‑74) didn't really have a clunker, other than the 8‑3 finish in 1972 with the 40‑6 Orange Bowl loss to Ne‑ braska, another top‑20 finish in 1971, and three national title contentions in 1970, 1973 and 1974, while winning it all in 1973. Plus he had three major bowl victories versus unbeaten teams. That's when you are in a special place with the program. In recent years, although the bar at Notre Dame has dropped some, my contention often has been is "if Stan‑ ford can do it, so can Notre Dame." From 2011‑15 under head coach Da‑ vid Shaw, who inherited a good situa‑ tion from Jim Harbaugh, the Cardinal has had an 8‑5 clunker (2014), but also top‑10 finishes in 2011 (11‑2, No. 7 in AP poll) and '12 (12‑2, No. 7), and the potential to be in the College Football Playoff mix this November. That's why you want to see at least a major bowl (and victory) this year under Brian Kelly. From 2011‑14, he had clunkers with five‑loss seasons in 2011 and 2014, the national title con‑ tention and top‑10 finish in 2012 and the top‑25 placement in 2013. This year, to be sort of "on schedule" over a given five years, another top‑10 type season would be needed. If that occurs, then next year could be even more telling about developing a con‑ sistent program. ✦ Senior Editor Lou Somogyi has been at Blue & Gold Illustrated since July 1985. He can be reached at

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 2, 2015 Issue