NCAA Football Alabama Crimson TideIndependent FootballNotre Dame Fighting IrishSEC Football

Secret Confessions of an Irish SEC Football Fan

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Hey Doc, I was wondering if you could help me out with a problem

Well, it’s not me. It’s about this… friend of mine. He’s a got problem and he’s not sure what to do.

You see, this guy is a big SEC football fan. He went to an SEC school and he’s fiercely loyal to them. And like most SEC fans, he’s also very loyal to that conference. I mean seriously, what other conference has fans actually cheering for their most bitter rivals?

But he’s also a 4th-generation Irish-Catholic, born in the northeastern part of the U.S., and somewhere deeply embedded into his genetic code is a loyalty to Notre Dame. If you’ve never met a guy like this it’s something else. The compulsion to cheer for the Fighting Irish really is swirling around in their DNA, regardless of where (or if) they went to college.

Now he finds himself in a pickle. Alabama and Notre Dame are playing for the college football championship. I don’t know if you follow this stuff or not, but this is a pretty big deal. He’s really torn and it’s driving him crazy. I mean, how does he pull for one side without coming off like a turncoat to the other?

He faced this syndrome once before in 1981, but he was only 13 years old so most people just didn’t notice or they shrugged it off as precocious youth. A couple of other times in lesser situations it cropped up as well, but one of them involved the Florida Gators, so that really doesn’t count.

This time he’s just really beside himself because the number one team in the land, Notre Dame, is a double digit underdog to Alabama at number two. Yes, you heard me right. Double digits!

He’s just not sure how this is possible, and the obvious disrespect that is being given to his beloved Irish have him seriously leaning towards cheering against the conference where his alma mater resides.

I can understand why he’s so upset too. Have you looked at the schedules these two teams played? Notre Dame actually looks more battle-tested than the Crimson Tide based on who they played this season. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Notre Dame played three teams that ended up in the BCS top-25, Alabama played four. Notre Dame didn’t have any non-FBS teams on their schedule. Alabama played two, as well as playing a Western Kentucky team who’s school just moved out of the FCS division in 2008.

Notre Dame had to travel all the way to Dublin, Ireland to open the season against Navy, and then traveled to the U.S. West Coast to close out the year against USC. Alabama’s longest road trip was 625 miles to Columbia, Mo.

Notre Dame has the No.1 scoring defense in the country, and Alabama’s is No.2. Both of them run the ball well, and both of them boast players who could have potentially won a Heisman Trophy.

Most importantly, the Irish haven’t been beaten this season. Alabama has.

With all this in mind, he just can’t understand why so many people doubt Notre Dame and their ability to beat Alabama, and it’s driving him crazy.

Is there anything you can do? Any advice you can give? He feels bad, he really does. He can see the reasoning in getting behind either team, but his Irish-immigrant blood seems to be getting the better of him right now. He doesn’t want to be excommunicated from the SEC table, or the Catholic Church.

I’m pretty close to this guy. I would imagine I know him better than anyone. In the end I’m willing to be he’ll be happy no matter who wins, but deep down inside I know he wants the Irish to come out on top.

Me? Oh I’m just kinda…ummm…well…..

I gotta go. Confessionals are being heard at church later.  Don’t want to miss it.


Michael Collins is a Rant Sports NFL and MLB Network Manager, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook