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Pick a QB, any QB

Well, that closed the book on 2011 with a thud, if you're a fan of the Notre Dame football program.

And if you're Brian Kelly, it is time to Just Choose One. Lightning is not going to strike either Tommy Rees or Andrew Hendrix and turn him into Joe Montana, or even Jimmy Clausen. And if that's the case, then you have to go with one and stick with him. Waffling between the two, as Kelly did last night, is not going to work and is never going to work.

That's not to say it cost the Irish their shot at claiming the coveted Champs Sports Bowl (the best bowl game named "the Champs Sports Bowl"), but it certainly didn't help. Fact is, they did what they've done all season when faced with superior or at least equal talent: They folded when it mattered most.

Missed makable field goals. Threw not one but two picks in the end zone. Surrendered 15 fourth-quarter points after holding Florida State in check the rest of the time.

It's become a disturbing theme for Kelly's Irish, and it was the dominant meme for 2011. I don't know how you address it except to go out and get better players, which Kelly is slowly doing. But 8-5 doesn't represent a whole lot of progress from his first season, and the Notre Dame faithful are not noted for their patience.

So, onward. Upward, clearly, is still being negotiated.

Ben Smith's blog.