I don't anyone could have predicted this.
Notre Dame opened their 2011 season with a big fat thud, in the rain and lightning.
It took six hours to play, and it was even longer than last Thursday's Red Sox-Yankees slogfest.
I've never seen a game with my team in football held up because of lightning storms, but it happened twice at South Bend on Saturday. It couldn't help the Fighting Irish, who looked absolutely horrible after a wonderful opening drive. A fumble at the one yard line (more like the ball was ripped out) by Jonas Gray was returned 96 yards by South Florida for a TD, and the nightmare of a day was on.
Notre Dame did not look ready to play at all. Dumb penalties (one that cost ND a TD in the first half) and QB Dayne Crist looked lost at times. It was 16-0 at halftime when the storms hit, and Notre Dame Stadium was evacuated because of the close lightning strikes.
Over a two-hour delay, and the second half got going. Tommy Rees threw two TD passes to Michael Floyd (one with just 21 seconds to play), but Notre Dame couldn't overcome the first half mistakes, and South Florida, who played very well, won, 23-20, and deservedly so.
To say the least, Brian Kelly threw more than one tantrum on the sidelines. Can't blame him. Now the Irish have to regroup for Michigan next Saturday, and give a much better effort at Ann Arbor. Already, the chorus of "overrated" has begun.
It will get louder if the losses begin to pile up.