Well, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s magical season finally came to an end at the hands of the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. Let’s face it, Alabama’s experience, size, strength and speed was the toughest test for a pretty young Irish team and the Irish failed. However, even though they got blown out on a national stage, Notre Dame has nothing to be ashamed of.
This team was relatively young in major positions like quarterback (freshman redshirt), wide receiver and the secondary. They weren’t supposed to go 9-3, let alone 12-1, so all in all? It was a successful year and a building block to the future of the program.
Even though Notre Dame will lose the heart and soul of their team, Manti Te’o, they’ll be replacing him with the best high school linebacker in the country (Jaylon Smith). Throw in a top-three recruiting class (currently number one but subject to change) and there’s no reason why several of those freshman can’t come in and mix with returning players like Louis Nix, Stephon Tuitt, Everett Golson, etc.
I know a lot of people strongly dislike the Notre Dame program, but any intelligent football fan should be able to look at this program as up and coming once again. There’s no reason why Notre Dame can’t contend for a national title in 2013 and I expect a lot of the key players this year to get better in the offseason.
A lot of things need to happen to get back to that stage, but I have confidence that last night’s butt-whipping is going to drive the returning players and head coach Brian Kelly. I have a feeling these kids got a taste of the big stage and will be heavily inspired to get that taste again.
We’ll see what happens, but as an Irish fan? 2012 was an awesome season and I look forward to the future of the program.