Team preview: Notre Dame

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college football season, exclusively on Insider.

Originally Published: July 28, 2004
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This time last year, Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham was being trumpeted as the next Knute Rockne after leading the Fighting Irish to a 10-win season.

What a difference a year makes. After last year's 5-7 campaign, Willingham is being compared to Gerry Faust and Bob Davie. Ouch!

It's far too early to write off Willingham's hiring as a mistake. But last season wasn't pretty. Notre Dame was hammered 38-12 in its season finale by Syracuse, continuing a decade-long slide by the Fighting Irish. They have had three losing seasons in five years, something that has never happened before. Losses not only became customary at Notre Dame last fall, but so did blowouts. The Irish lost by an aggregate 132 points to Michigan (38-0), Southern California (45-14), Florida State (37-0) and Syracuse.