Irish National Title Hopes Take a Dive With Loss of Golson

Everett Golson
Everett Golson
With Golson suspended for the season, who can Notre Dame turn to at quarterback?

The chances that the University of Notre Dame was going to make a return trip to the BCS National Title Game were slim enough headingĀ into the past week but now the chances have dwindled even further. It was reported and later confirmed by Everett Golson himself that the star quarterback for the Irish had indeed been suspended and will not play in 2013.

The official announcement from both Notre Dame and Golson is that he is no longer enrolled at the University. The official reason is “poor academic judgment.” Let’s be really honest here shall we? Do any of us really believe that’s what this is really about? Notre Dame and every other major college football program will do anything and everything to make sure their respective players are eligible with very few exceptions.

I’m not suggesting the Golson was involved in anything criminal, but I am hinting at the possibility that this is much larger than just failing a class or two. Starting QBs at the top schools in America are not “ineligible” everyday ya know and I smell something far greater than what is being offered. Believe me, I hope I’m wrong but something just isn’t right here.

The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino SportsBook almost immediately dropped the Irish from 30-1 all the way to 50-1 and we are still 100 days or so from the start of the 2013 college football season. Certainly sports books like this one will alter those odds as the season approaches and a lot of that will depend on who Head Coach Brian Kelly goes with as his signal-caller.

Brian Kelly
Kelly has few solid options as he looks to replace Golson.

Kelly has a couple of different options and is sure to play the decision as close to his vest as possible heading into the season. The options right now for Kelly aren’t all that enticing but do offer him some different skill sets and experience with each.

The odds-on-favorite right now would have to be senior Tommy Rees who has started 18 career games but has often been in and out of Kelly’s doghouse. Behind him would be fourth-year junior Andrew Hendrix and then Spring enrollee Malik Zaire. Hendrix has career numbers of 23 of 44 for 304 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

In Rees’ career, he has thrown for over 4,400 yards and has 34 touchdown passes to 24 interceptions. I have to believe he will be the starter for the August 31st opener against Temple in Notre Dame Stadium but stranger things have certainly happened. In terms of what Zaire brings to the table, he’s a much more athletic guy than Rees and is a true dual-threat QB although he is all that fast. His forty time is clocked at just under five flat.

The question with Zaire is does Kelly burn his redshirt that he had planned to use on the youngster this year? Notre Dame was the thirteenth most bet on team so far in terms of winning the national title this year which tells us a lot of people felt like they still had a lot of talent around them despite losing Tyler Eifert, Manti T’eo and company.

There is one long-term option in Wes Lunt, a QB looking to transfer from Oklahoma State. He listed Notre Dame as a potential landing spot, but would not be eligible until next season.

Regardless of the direction Brian Kelly chooses to go, Notre Dame will still be a good football team in 2013. Will they be in the hunt for the National Title? I say “no” and I really never felt they were anywhere due to the losses I mentioned as well as those on the offensive line. Not a good day to be an Irish fan that’s for sure.