Clausen, Irish get punched out

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish just can’t seem to catch a break.

After an expectation-filled season turned to ruins with three consecutive losses, a second consecutive bad loss on Senior Day, coach Charlie Weis all but gone and the very real possibility of losing at Stanford on Saturday, there was little else that could go wrong, right?

Not true these days in the land of Touchdown Jesus.

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen — the last person who should be taking any punishment from Notre Dame football fans — was socked in the face by an angry Golden Domer outside a restaurant in South Bend early Sunday morning after attending a dinner with family and other ND upperclassmen following the Senior Day loss to UConn.

Initial reports didn’t provide too many details, so no one really knows exactly what happened at CJ Pub’s in the early morning hours. But I suspected one thing right away: The incident had something to do with a girl. I didn’t have all of the facts, but based on my working theory that slightly over 40 percent of thrown punches are from one girl’s current boyfriend to the scorned ex-boyfriend, it was a reasonable assumption.

Sure enough, the South Bend Tribune is reporting that the incident occurred after the 22-year-old junior QB and his date went back inside after the young woman forgot her purse, and the female was apparently pushed by a man outside the bar. After the men exchanged words, Clausen reportedly pushed the man away, leading him to punch Clausen in the eye. A skirmish ensued, which was quickly broken up.

Clausen apparently suffered a swollen eye, but the injury is not expected to keep him from playing this weekend at Stanford, according to Weis, who declined to comment on the incident.

Clausen, one the nation’s best quarterbacks all season while passing for 3,382 yards and 23 touchdowns with a passer rating of 156.45, is scheduled to be available to the media on Wednesday.

To make matters worse for the Irish, leading rusher Armando Allen will miss the game against the Cardinal with a broken bone in his right hand.

Yet if Weis’ future, Clausen’s altercation, Allen’s injury and the overall horrid play of the Irish wasn’t distressing enough, go ahead and forecast Notre Dame’s bowl chances. I did, and it’s not a pretty picture.

Bruce Feldman of has the Irish slotted into the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against mighty Northern Illinois in his Week 12 bowl projections. His colleague, Mark Schlabach, has the Irish in the GMAC Bowl against Central Michigan.

When I saw those projections, many thoughts rumbled through my mind. Here are a few:

1. Little Caesars Pizza Bowl? Could we have just kept it Motor City Bowl? I know the city of Detroit is struggling economically, but really?

2. Would Charlie Weis even be the coach for either game? I’m guessing Weis will be cleaning out his office next Monday after the Stanford game. Could we see a one-game tryout for interim coach and Beano Cook’s golden boy, Ron Powlus, in the bowl game? Only slightly kidding.

3. Would the Irish even accept a bowl bid to a minor bowl at 6-6? I think the answer to this is that they better, because what’s been made abundantly clear is that this isn’t your older brother’s too-good-for-a-non-BCS-bowl-game Fighting Irish.

4. If they played Central Michigan, over/under on how many TDs Dan LeFevour accounts for? Four? I’d go with five — three passing and two rushing.

I know that Notre Dame is the Yankees of college football and that the institution is very polarizing. But even the die-hard Notre Dame haters have to feel a little sorry for this team in a season that went so wrong so fast.

Dave Miller is the Web Manager of the National Football Post. He enjoys coffee at any time of the day, CW teen dramas and has an appreciation for girls in boots. You can follow him on Twitter at Miller_Dave, where he constantly chronicles every moment of his mundane life.

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