Would a softer schedule help?

Originally Published: August 31, 2004
By Beano Cook | ESPN Insider
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    Under the Golden Dome, the third year for a new coach means a national title.

    Third-year Notre Dame coaches who won national titles: Frank Leahy (1943), Ara Parseghian (1966), Dan Devine (1977) and Lou Holtz (1988). Current Irish coach Tyrone Willingham is one game into his third year, coming off a losing season -- something the Notre Dame faithful consider as bad as a mortal sin.

    After the devastating 20-17 loss to Brigham Young on Saturday, it's unlikely the banner will wave over the Golden Dome this year. Other third-year ND coaches have had bad years: Terry Brennan (2-8, 1956), Joe Kuharich (5-5, 1961), Gerry Faust (7-5, 1983) and Bob Davie (5-7, 1999).

    Willingham can take some solace in the fact the Irish gained as many yards rushing (11) against BYU as they had punts in the inexplicable loss to a team with, at most, two players Notre Dame considered recruiting.

    In a recent USA Today story, Malcolm Moran told the world that this ND administration wants to soften the schedule.

    Wait a second.

    Beano Cook

    College Football
    Carroll H. "Beano" Cook joined ESPN in March 1986 and served as a college football studio commentator and occasional sideline reporter, in addition to offering college football commentary on ESPN Radio. He died in October 2012.