It’s all over. The University of Notre Dame is going to go to the National Championship game, after defeating USC 22-13 in Los Angeles. Notre Dame is a team that wasn’t even ranked in the first poll of the season, yet they will enter the final game as the number one team in the country.
You know the skepticism fuels most players, coaches, and fans to strive for greatness. In Notre Dame’s case, it all started when ESPN columnist, Rick Reilly, wrote the most ignorant piece of trash in the history of journalism. I have to assume Riley’s diatribe of a column gave this Irish team bulletin board before the season even started. If you aren’t familiar what Reilly wrote, he basically said Notre Dame was irrelevant, treating the program as if they were some sort of Atari video game system.
Notre Dame may not have had the style points, the offense outbursts, or dominating wins like some of the other teams in the country, but they are the only bowl-eligible team who can walk away saying they were undefeated.
In most cases, especially if you’re Boise State, fans would rally around an undefeated team, saying they deserve a shot at the championship. In Notre Dame’s case, however, they don’t deserve a shot or recognition if you ask certain fans, critics, and flat out haters. It’s like these people have a rolladex of excuses:
Game 1: “It was Navy”
Game 2: “Purdue by a field goal!?”
Game 3: “ND won because of Denard”
Game 4: “Michigan State wasn’t that good”
Game 5: “Miami is trash”
Game 6: “Taylor scored a touchdown!”
Game 7: “ND barely beat a bad BYU team. They have no chance against Oklahoma”
Game 8: “Well… umm… Kansas State already beat Oklahoma at home”
Game 9: “Two guys had the same number on the field!”
Game 10: “Where are the style points!?”
Game 11: “Senior Day VS. Wake is a lock”
Game 12: “Well… umm… Alabama is going to kill them”
Okay. I got it. Notre Dame should have finished the season 0-12. How silly of me.
The Irish will be a heavy underdog against the SEC champion, whomever that may be, and that’s exactly how they will want it. For three months, they have proved all the naysayers wrong, so why not one more?