posted on Sep, 10 2004 @ 07:45 PM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A year ago Notre Dame was dreaming of challenging for a national championship when it played Michigan.
Now the Fighting Irish are looking to simply regain a measure of respectability against the eighth-ranked Wolverines on Saturday.
That's how bad it has gone for Notre Dame since the Irish, then ranked No. 15, walked off the field at Michigan Stadium 38-0 losers in the most
lopsided loss in their 31-game rivalry.
Going into that game, Tyrone Willingham had a record of 11-3 at Notre Dame and was being compared with Ara Parseghian. Heading into Saturday's game,
Willingham has a 15-11 record at Notre Dame and is being compared to Bob Davie and Gerry Faust.
The Irish are 5-10 in their last 15 games -- their worst stretch since they were 4-11 for a 15-game span under Joe Kuharich in 1960-61. Even worse,
the Irish lost four of those games -- all to Top 10 teams -- by 31 points or more.
Those are depths the Irish never reached under Davie or Faust.
Adding to the concern in South Bend is the 20-17 loss to Brigham Young last week, a game the Irish had moved from Oct. 30 so they could use it as a
tuneup for Michigan. Instead, the Irish offense looked inept, rushing for just 11 yards -- their worst performance in 39 years. Some Irish fans are in
a panic, especially with the hated Wolverines headed to town as 13½-point favorites.