With another gritty Irish road win against a quality team in USC, Notre Dame has wrapped up an improbable season that’s final chapter is yet to be written. On January 7th, The Irish will complete this story by facing either the Georgia Bulldogs or Alabama Crimson Tide for a chance to stake their claim to the BCS National Championship trophy. The Irish will most likely be underdogs vs. either of these SEC opponents as they have been all year long – a role that Notre Dame has completely embraced. The so-called experts picked the Irish to lose against Michigan, and Stanford at home, and also Michigan State, Oklahoma and USC on the road. The Irish squad and their fans have heard every reason why they cannot compete against this team or that team, and yet Notre Dame has always found a way to persevere and notch another win at the end of each of those games previously mentioned.
Irish fans will hear how they are too young in the secondary, or their quarterback Everett Golson will be contained by the speed of the elite SEC defenses. They will hear how the offensive lines of either Georgia or Alabama will open large gaps against the Irish defense and let the running-backs run wild. They most certainly will be educated on how either the Bulldogs Aaron Murray or Bama’s A.J. McCarron will have all day long to pass and will pick the inexperienced Irish secondary apart. Irish fans will also be told how either opponents defenses will double team and shutdown Tyler Eifert, and nullify any running attack the Irish will try to establish. The national media will try and convince this 2012 Notre Dame squad and their fan-base that there is basically no reason for them to even show up in Miami in early 2013, because it is given that the true title game will be played in Atlanta this upcoming weekend. What the world of college football and the national media doesn’t understand is that this Irish team and their fans really do not care what they think – at all.
Fans and media who have truly watched this team play all year long understand the amount of talent, heart, speed and focus this Irish squad possesses. The difference of talent between either of the two SEC teams and the Irish team is minimal and the Irish can match up well with either team on either side of the ball. Notre Dame has consistently played smart football all season and they are a team that doesn’t beat themselves, and will never quit. They have risen up to any challenge presented to them on the biggest stage, and this game will be no different. They have played in some very hostile venues in East Lansing, Norman, and Southern California – and playing in Miami will not be an issue either. Notre Dame has embraced the big stage all year long starting in Dublin, and have never allowed the atmosphere or pressure to overwhelm them. This was never more evident than when the Irish walked into Southern Cal Saturday night with the whole nation watching and pressure of being the new #1 team in the country and just simply took care of business.
The Irish are not flashy, fancy or arrogant, but are simply a very talented football team that has consistently made play when they needed to be made. They have scratched and clawed their way to a perfect regular season and for that they have earned the right to play for the BCS title. Irish fans should take a cue from its beloved squad and embrace the hate, embrace the underdog status, and feel confident in doing so. They have watched this team play all year long and understand what they are capable of and need no validation from others to do so. So pay no attention to the arrogance or ignorance that will certainly be on display over the next month and simply remember this – The Irish are the only team in the nation who answered the call every Saturday, and that folks is a fact!