Bob Birge's Irish Eyes Are Smiling

September 24, 2009 12:23 AM

Notre Dame ... Missing Tiller

As Notre Dame prepares for Saturday's contest at Purdue, Irish fans should reflect on how much they miss former Boilermakers coach Joe Tiller.

Ole Joe always seemed like one heck of a nice guy, but he might have been the only mentor in the Big Ten that Charlie Weis could out-coach. Tiller actually might have stressed defense less than Weis.

Of the three Big Ten teams that Notre Dame plays regularly, Weis has a winning record only against Purdue. He is 2-3 against Michigan and Michigan State - counting this season's results - and 3-1 against the Boilers.

Still, Notre Dame was only 7-5 overall against Tiller, as the Boilers have enjoyed more success against the Irish in West Lafayette, where they have won two of the last three meetings. Notre Dame has won 15 of the last 16 in South Bend.

Purdue may have hope, as in new coach Danny Hope, but the Boilers still aren't playing much defense. They allowed 31 points in a season-opening win over Toledo (52-31), 38 in a two-point loss to Oregon and almost 30 in last week's 28-21 defeat to Northern Illinois.

Still, Notre Dame is ripe to be beaten because we don't trust the Irish - and Weis - in any situation on the road.

Since Notre Dame has played two straight games in the 30s - 38-34 loss at Michigan and 33-30 win over Michigan - we see another high-scoring affair that will have Irish fans once again yelling at their televisions: Notre Dame 35, Purdue 31.

These hair-raising finishes don't seem to be causing our man Charlie to lose any weight. Actually, they might be having an opposite affect.

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