Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Hayes' Take: The Hawaii Bowl

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The first in a series of daily blog entries leading up to the Hawaii Bowl ...

I understand why Notre Dame accepted a bid to the Hawaiian Bowl, even if there's a part of me that thinks they should not be going to a bowl, that players and coaches need to know that there's no "reward" for the type of season 2008 turned out to be. In the final analysis, however, the benefits of accepting the bid are many. The extra practice time (no one can deny this group needs more practice --- lots and lots more) alone is probably reason enough to accept the invitation but I have this nagging feeling that it could turn into a negative just as easily as it could turn into a positive. 

Given the way the Irish played at the end of the season nobody knows what team is going to show up in Honolulu. They could play their best game since midseason, move up and down the field offensively and regain some of the momentum they lost while losing five of their last seven. That's the best-case scenario, and the reason why Notre Dame couldn't turn this opportunity down, even if a less-ideal outcome --- or even a loss --- is also a realistic possibility.

That would be the worst-case scenario, obviously. It would be disheartening for fans if Weis' team failed to respond to this latest challenge. It would make people feel even worse (if that's possible after Syracuse and USC) about the current season and less hopeful about next. It would also be an indictment of Jack Swarbrick's decision to retain Weis.

I agree with the call, by the way. If there was an absolute can't-miss candidate who was not only available but interested it would be a different story. Or at least that's how I look at it when I put myself in the shoes of Notre Dame's first-year athletics director. Notre Dame doesn't need change for the sake of change. Even in the wake of a season that seriously called into question Weis' ability to head the program, stability is preferable to making a rash decision. The last time Notre Dame tried to make a quick decision they signed Weis to a 10-year extension before his rookie season was even done. Good grief. (Does that decision look a little more idiotic every day, or what? When a "SportsCenter" anchor said it --- "Weis has seven years left on a 10-year deal signed midway through his first season ..." --- it sounded ludicrous, absurd.)

As I've written here before, it's a tough ... tough ... call. 

But the primary point is this: This is officially the first game of the rest of Weis' career. It's really, really important that the Irish play hard and efficiently. If he can't stop the negative momentum on Christmas Eve there's a good chance he will never. If Notre Dame can't beat Hawaii it will be harder to believe they will be capable of winning nine games next year.

I'll get the inside dope on Hawaii  for tomorrow's entry ... 

 Anyway, look at the mess that Notre Dame, which signed Weis to a recently it sounded ab  

The way the Irish played at the end of the year.that the way the Irish played at the end of the season there 

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on December 8, 2008 9:42 AM.

ND To Hawaii Bowl Release was the previous entry in this blog.

Honolulu Advertisers' Take is the next entry in this blog.

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