It’s not like it’s a surprise.

As I told you in Notre Dame Insider last week, “What happens in Palo Alto will determine the perception of how the Irish finished—whether they had one bad night in Miami, or limped through November. And that, when you think about it, is a big deal.’’

And that, when you think about it, is exactly what has happened.

The bloom is off the Irish rose after a November that was more of a downer than their 2-2 record indicates. In one win, they lifted off the pedal and allowed Wake Forest to turn a 48-23 blowout into an ominous 48-37 victory. In the other, they had to scratch and claw past Navy 24-17.

Wins are wins. And Wake and Navy are solid teams. But the signs were there. Notre Dame was a banged-up team that no longer was able to impose its will through a punishing running game and stifling defense.

In the losses, ND’s flaws were exposed. Against an unbeaten Miami, Brandon Wimbush was intercepted three times and lost a fumble. Against a Stanford that will play in the Pac-12 title game, Wimbush threw two more interceptions. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.