While Ryan Day's Ohio State Buckeyes enter their bye week at a perfect 4-0, Lou Holtz's beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish find themselves at a still strong 4-1, but no longer College Football Playoff caliber. Ohio State defeated Notre Dame 17-14 last Saturday in the biggest game of the weekend. Mental meltdowns late by the defense, combined with Holtz's comments on Friday unraveled them.
Holtz made another media appearance surrounding the Ohio State vs. Notre Dame. This time, he went on Don't @ Me with Dan Dakich, reaffirming his stance that Day's team is soft, essentially what he said on The Pat McAfee Show last Friday. Notre Dame lost to Ohio State because sixth-year senior transfer quarterback Sam Hartman did not elevate and Al Golden's defense could not count to 11...
“Notre Dame was a better football team. I felt Notre Dame won the football game. All we had to do was fall on the ball.”
Let's be real. We are not in the business of moral victories, especially when it comes to blue-blood programs that have already made the College Football Playoff twice like Notre Dame has. I think what the game showed us is no matter how well of a game plan Marcus Freeman and his staff devised, the Irish will always be at a disadvantage to a team like Ohio State because of their academic standards.
Where I think Holtz seems to be admitting some level of mea culpa is that he did not seem to understand how big of a reach The Pat McAfee Show has, especially now that it is simulcast on ESPN.
“I hadn’t done TV for a few years and had no idea it would be that widely received. I really had no idea Mr. McAfee’s show was so widely watched. But I said it. That’s it. I can’t do anything about it. I can’t erase it. I probably shouldn’t have said it. I have great respect for coach Day. But they are not a real physical football team."
Holtz may be 86 years old, but his former media career as a college football analyst for ESPN does not really excuse him either. Unlike Chris Berman, he might actually know how the internet works...
Let's discuss if Holtz should be doubling-down on his criticism of Coach Day's team's toughness.
Lou Holtz stands by Ryan Day, Ohio State criticism, but admits a mistake
Look. I don't think what Holtz said on Pat McAfee Friday was wrong, even after the fact. These were two pretty evenly matched teams from the Midwestern footprint of our country. It was a three-score game in primetime that went down to the wire. Somebody had to win and somebody had to lose. This is college football after all. However, I think his lack of awareness in saying this on PMS was a red flag.
Cody Williams and I talked about this on Monday's edition of False Start. Holtz had a point in saying that Day-led Buckeyes teams have routinely struggled against some of the toughest teams they have faced. Whether that be Alabama, Clemson and Georgia, to some extent, in the College Football Playoff, or in the latest two installments of The Game vs. Michigan, Ohio State had come up short...
Overall, you can point the finger at an 86-year-old man all you want if you are a Notre Dame fan, but you still have three pointing back at you in that instance. Those three fingers represent not playing in a conference, leaving you no wiggle room to suffer a loss during the regular season, having too challenging of a curriculum to get more blue-chippers in, and above all else, being able to count to 11.
While Holtz went to 11 on Pat McAfee and later Dan Dakich, it is a shame Freeman's team could not.