Domers, Your Credibility Is On The Clock When Notre Dame (2) trap-doored Tyrone Willingham (3) after just three years on the job in 2004, it established a precedent for the next coach: You've got three years, pal. Have it up and running at full speed or else. Charlie Weis Tom "Mo" Moschella/Icon SMI Charlie Weis and the Irish are off to an 0-2 start in his third season at South Bend. Or at least that should have been the established precedent, if Notre Dame was interested in treating its next coach the same way it treated the first African-American coach in the school's history. But Charlie Weis (4) probably can go 2-10 in this, his third year, and still be back in 2008. Why? The simple answer is fairness -- the majority of coaches should get a fourth season, no matter how the third one turned out. But since fairness didn't factor in with Willingham (6-5 in year three, 21-15 overall), The Dash will offer another reason. Weis (0-2 in year three, 19-8 overall) was awarded a 10-year, $30 million-plus contract during his first season -- something that would make a firing very costly. He got the contract largely on the strength of a close loss to a great USC team and some interest from the NFL -- although Weis said at his introductory news conference in December 2004, "I don't come here to leave and take a job in the NFL in three years. This is not a stepping stone. This is an end-all for our family. When we come to Notre Dame, we come here with the intent of retiring here." So either Notre Dame hysterically overbid to keep an unproven coach who had no intention of going anywhere, or else Weis' loyalty pledge turned weak enough that the school felt compelled to overpay to keep him. Either way, Charlie and the Irish would appear joined at the hip -- even while the Notre Dame of Weis' third season is starting to bear strong resemblance to the Notre Dame of Ty Willingham's intolerable third season. Actually, it's worse. Far worse. That doesn't mean it can't turn around, but the current product is dreadful. Dating back to last season, the Irish have lost four consecutive games by at least 20 points. Last time Notre Dame lost four straight by 20 or more? How does never sound? But then again, they've only been playing football in South Bend since 1887. (One of the big knocks on Willingham, by the way, was too many blowout losses.) It could turn out that the teams that ripped the Irish this year, Georgia Tech (5) and Penn State (6), are the best teams in the ACC and Big Ten, respectively. But that would only continue Weis' trend of beating the bad teams and losing to the good ones. He's 4-6 against ranked opponents (including four straight lopsided losses) and 15-2 against the unranked. Average end-of-season Sagarin rating for the 19 teams Weis has beaten: 62nd. Average end-of-season Sagarin rating for the 21 teams Willingham beat from 2002-04: 55th. The one thing Weis was supposed to deliver was a state-of-the-art offense capable of carving up any defense. He did that -- when Willingham's players were there. The 2007 Irish have not scored an offensive touchdown, even though Weis told his players his first season they would have a "decided schematic advantage" in every game. Some advantage: They've scored 13 points on the season -- fewest through the first two games of the year since 1942. They're last in the nation in rushing offense and total offense. Tyrone Willingham AP Photo/Ted S. Warren Former Irish coach Ty Willingham has Washington off to a 2-0 start this season. The easy fall guy for Domers protective of Weis is the same fall guy they pounded in 2003 and '04: Willingham. They'll tell you his lackluster recruiting left the cupboard bare, setting the stage for this difficult season. They like to talk about the rankings of recruiting classes. The Dash likes to talk about productivity. For instance: Of the 856 points Notre Dame has scored with Weis as head coach, 19 of them have been scored by players who originally committed to and signed with him. That includes the defensive touchdown, the extra point and two field goals that constitute this season's scoring. A Weis recruit has scored exactly one offensive touchdown in 27 games: George West (7) on an 11-yard run last season against Purdue, one of three times West touched the ball from scrimmage in 2006. It's true that Weis coached many of Willingham's players better than Willingham ever did. It's also true that Weis owes Willingham a large debt for at least getting the likes of Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija and Darius Walker on campus. Meanwhile, Washington (8) is 2-0 in its third season under Willingham, having won by 30 points on the road to open the season and then ending the nation's longest winning streak in a two-touchdown upset of Boise State (9). Willingham is in a place that suits him better than Notre Dame ever did. He might never have won truly big in South Bend, and might never have been truly happy. But the criticism of Willingham was as excessive as the praise (and compensation) accorded Weis. That's the double standard Notre Dame has set in place, and the double standard it must live with.