Dayne Crist must feel a little lonely right now. He has played well through the first three games, but at Notre Dame that isn't enough. Greatness is measured by victories. While some Irish fans are arrogant (and ignorant) enough to believe the Irish played well enough to win but lost to State on a bad call, those who harken back to the days of Holtz remember the concept that putting yourself in a position to lose is cause enough to consider the game a failure regardless of the result.
To the credit of Crist, he is standing tall and poised heading into this week's rivalry matchup at home against Stanford.
They have moved on now. It is time for 16th ranked Stanford. The Cardinal average 475 yards per game and have scored no fewer than 35 points in any of their first three games. Notre Dame is giving up 443 yards per game and have seemed to be unable to stop any rushing attack thus far.
Who is to blame? At this point it seems like a transitional period. Kelly's approach needs time to fully develop, but he must start finding ways to win games or he will lose the support of the fan base. The Irish need motivation. The fans are yearning for excitement. The nation is waiting for the re-emergence of Notre Dame as a power program.
One key victory can spark a winning streak. One more loss might destroy any confidence these young student-athletes still have.
Stanford won last year's meeting, 45-38, but this is a new team, a new year, and the Irish are a desperate team with a smart coach and dedicated fan base. Crist has played well, but continues to be injury prone. Kelly has coached well, but lacks the players his defensive schemes require.
Stanford gave up 17 points to Sacramento State and 24 points to Wake Forest.
If Crist can stay healthy, Notre Dame should have no problem using a balanced offensive attack to carve up at least 35 points in waking up the echos and pulling off the upset.