Kids, back in 2012 it had been nearly 25 years since the Irish went into a bowl game as the #1 team in the nation. Nearly a quarter of a century had passed since Notre Dame simply needed to win one more game and a national title would be theirs. The last time this happened, I was a little over a month away from celebrating my fourth birthday.
All of a sudden, one day I found myself with only three sleeps until I had the chance to watch my alma mater face off against Alabama for the a national championship…in person.
But this trip was more than just a chance to watch the Irish play for the BCS title (the BCS, kids, was quite a hilarious little system we had before the playoff you know now, but that’s another story…). It was chance for me to experience the excellence of Notre Dame football that I had only been able to read about or watch in old highlight films.
You see, kids, my family had no Notre Dame alumni, even of the subway variety; in fact, my family had no alumni association of any kind save for my uncle who attended Stephen F. Austin. It wasn’t until your aunt and I started our college careers that Saturdays became a true day of football importance like they are today in our house.
When I was your age, Sundays were king. The Dallas Cowboys were the only football team that mattered for most of my life. While Notre Dame defeated Florida State in spectacular fashion and later getting hosed out of a title in 1993, I was focused on a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl run. As the Lou Holtz era wound down, our family celebrated two more Super Bowl victories.
Ironically enough, that was pretty much the last high point for both teams for quite a while.
The only knowledge of Notre Dame that I had in my childhood was the movie Rudy. But, kids, most of the pageantry depicted in that movie was lost on me until I actually set foot on campus in 2003. I had no stories of great Notre Dame games or traditions passed down to me. No memories of a trip to South Bend or even of a watching a Notre Dame game on a Saturday afternoon. No deep seeded love for the University like you have.
My Notre Dame football knowledge didn’t start until the spring of 2003. I had made my decision to attend ND and like any good gaming and sports nerd, I purchased the NCAA video game. Thanks to EA Sports, I learned who all our rivals were (I had no idea ND/USC was such a big deal — seriously). I caught up with the recent ND history and was legitimately excited to experience the Ty Willingham era (wait…why are you laughing at me?). The floodgates of Irish football history opened my freshman year and somehow opened even further when I became a manager at the start of the Charlie Weis era.
Sadly, my personal experiences of Notre Dame football were mostly of pain and disappointment. There was a slight two year reprieve in 2005 and 2006 followed by a harsh crash down to earth as my first football season as an alumnus in 2007. No, I will never tell you stories of 2007; in fact, most of us decided to simply erase it from our memories:
Kids, for quite a while, I was certain that those stories of heartache were all I’d be able to tell you. Any other memories of Notre Dame being great would come in the form of second-hand stories from friends or the occasional first-hand account from an older alum. You wouldn’t care about those stories — it’d be like eavesdropping on some other guy telling his story to his family.
Anyways, this trip to Miami changed all that. I was there to watch the Irish return to glory — for real this time. Amongst of sea of Alabama fans and talking heads convinced the SEC would wipe the floor with the Irish, I stood in awe as Notre Dame hoisted the crystal trophy.
And, kids, let me tell you there was no greater joy than watching the stunned faces of die-hard SEC fans.
That’s the true legacy of Notre Dame, kids. Let no one ever tell you that such success is impossible to find these days. We almost gave up hope on it ourselves. Just remember that success through honor is never easy, but the victory at the end of that road is sweeter than any other.
Kids, there also used to be something called the Big East. Boise State pretty much sealed that conference’s fate.
And of course, you know about Manti Te’o. However, I will never be able to leave out Louis Nix III because he was just simply made of awesome.
The students in this video will definitely have some memories to share. The lesson, kids, is that there is power in simplicity.
Kids, I’d suggest behaving. Or Jadeveon Clowney is coming to get you.
Stories of this year’s Orange Bowl won’t be as legen…wait for it…dary. Not just because the Orange Bowl didn’t even want one of the teams there, but mostly because the game was boring and the best highlights were the fan reactions.
Not sure how the story of Penn State will end. First the state of Pennsylvania decides to sue the NCAA, but later in the week Bill O’Brien decided to forgo the NFL to stay at the sanction-stricken school. Talk about two opposite sides of the coin.
Put These Games on Your Radar
There’s only three games left until the one we’ve all been waiting for. There’s only one game that you must stop down for; however, enjoy the football while it lasts.
Friday, January 4
#9 Texas A&M vs #11 Oklahoma – 8:00pm ET, FOX
Saturday, January 5
Pittsburgh vs Ole Miss – 1:00pm ET, ESPN/WatchESPN
Sunday, January 6
#25 Kent State vs Arkansas State – 9:00pm ET, ESPN/WathcESPN
Raise the trophy: ND 21 – Bama 17
ND 24 – Bama 16
Notre Dame 24, Alabama 20
1st quarter: 3-0 Irish
2nd quarter: 10-6 Irish
3rd quarter: 17-9 Irish
4th quarter: 23-16 Irish
…the crystal ball returns to South Bend. MVP: Tyler Eifert – 9 catches, 88 yards, TD.
Due to the tropical local of the game and in honor of our favorite Hawaiian, I’m going with a Kona brew, specifically, the Pipeline Porter.
Oh…and you might want to keep some champagne around. You know, just in case…