Time to batten down the hatches

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There’s been so much rumbling and grumbling the past 48 hours that many people have forgotten that Notre Dame’s most important game on the post-USC schedule is coming up this Saturday. While there may not be BCS relevancy anyone, Notre Dame is now playing for much more than a BCS bid, they’re playing for legitimacy, and possibly playing for their head coach.

While the comments section has turned into a therapy board the last few days, here’s guessing that the Irish will batten down the hatches and take the opportunity to rally around their embattled coach. Down to a player, there weren’t many guys who watched the tape from Saturday and didn’t see something they could’ve done to help win the ballgame. Even the players who had the biggest games all missed a play or made a mistake that cost the Irish. Put if you learn anything as a football player, it’s that there is no looking in the rear-view mirror. 

I’m still shocked that the Irish lost Saturday, and I’m guessing the guys in the locker room are even more surprised by what happened under their noses. Yet the recipe for the trap was there right in front of us, and most of us kept looking right on by Navy and right toward this tough three game stretch that starts this Saturday night at Pittsburgh (myself included).

I’m not ready to call a 9-3 season a failure. But 9-3 is miles away, and if we’ve learned anything, this team doesn’t have the ability to look beyond any opponent on their schedule, let alone a one-loss Pitt team that sits in the top ten. The margin for error for this team has disappeared.

With the BCS dreams gone and the national spotlight only shining on the program for the wrong reasons, only now will we see what type of fight is in the Fighting Irish.