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Monday, November 30, 2009
Irish prestige drops in 13-year drought

By Pat Forde
ESPN.com

Notre Dame made official Monday what was known to be true for some time. Charlie Weis, after five seasons and a 35-27 record, is out as Notre Dame head coach.

The search for his replacement promises to be as closely-followed as his departure. In the meantime, let's consider Notre Dame's place among the nation's top programs in recent years.

Of the top 15 programs of all-time as tabulated in 2008 by ESPN's stats and research department, Notre Dame lags behind the other 14 from 1997 through the present.

The Fighting Irish have more than twice as many losses (67) as Texas and has a winning percentage of .576 over the past 13 seasons.

Of the top 15 teams, Notre Dame is joined by Alabama as the only teams over that span that have failed to win 100 games or a single BCS bowl game, though the Crimson Tide have been trending upward since Nick Saban's arrival in 2007 while the Fighting Irish have floundered during Charlie Weis' tenure.

Here's how the top 15 have performed from 1997 to the present.