Onward to Victory

team usc 2012
Nov. 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans tailback Curtis McNeal (22) is tackled by Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (89) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (7) in the fourth quarter at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Notre Dame won 22-13. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

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!

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  1. From the start of the season, I had a vision, if Everett could mature with mistakes being made from game to game, we had Tommy. We had two quarterbacks that came to play with heart, two that came to play with all they had to put a W in the winning column. What matters here is that from the first game to the last, this whole team has matured, it started to come together as a family with heart, to prove to the world they were good enough to beat any team playing against them. They have shocked the world on all the teams they beat and also they proved to themselves they can play with any other team in the nation. This team is at full circle now, with only one game to play, one that matters the most, if they stay at full circle, and know they can play and win against either Alabama, or Georgia, then I can only say this. This team has done more than anyone ever thought from the beginning to the end, to win it all. And this comes from individuals on the team with leadership, passion, and pride of playing the game of football. To bring back the glory to the Golden Dome.

  2. Nice article and totally agree with its focus. The pundits already have ND losing on Jan 7 and that this ND team is an aberration, an exception to 2012 because the other so called “good” teams allowed some losses to occur to put ND where they are at now. ND will let their play speak for themselves against whatever SEC opponent we end up facing.

    Go Irish

  3. Before last spring practice, BK stated that the most important aspect that the coaching staff had to work on was eliminating turnovers at the qb spot. That had to be accomplished with a new qb, loss of the best WR in ND history, an inconsistent OL and a returning starting qb who didn’t have the physical tools to get it done. The upshot? An unbeaten season, accomplished by playing the CFB version of “small ball.” Developing the OL, choosing a rookie qb who didn’t need to do anything heroic in order to win, out patterns where it was a 1-1 matchup rather than throw into the middle of the field and coverage, or rollouts in order to find your AA tight end. The running game showed up, they settled for field goals rather than risk any TO in the red zone, rely on your defense, the best one in CFB. Most importantly, fabricating the most efficient offense in the game, evidenced by the fact that ND had more time consuming drives that led to scores than any other team in the FBS. That metric is analogous to on base %, not how often do you get a hit, but how often do you get on base to extend an inning. For all that, BK is Coach of The Year. His staff should also get awarded if one exists. It probably won’t happen, but it should be Manti for Heisman and BK for COY, imho…..

  4. Excellent piece, Bob.

    “Embrace the hate” is right-on, and there’s plenty of it to embrace.

    ND’s team has been minimized and marginalized all year.

    ND is #1 in football and graduation rate. They remain the face and heart of college football, win or lose.

    That they are #1 is their rightful place, earned on the practice field, in team meetings, in the classroom, and,

    without any doubt, in the opposing stadiums and on the beloved sod under the ever-watchful eyes of touchdown Jesus and millions of appreciative and loyal fans. The long road has taken us at this point in college football history to the well-earned pinnacle at which they have arrived.

    Go Irish – THE #1 college football team in more ways than poll voters and fickled pundits . . .

    ND remains the class and model of college football

  5. Jack W. I am also in Columbus and love hearing all the Buckeye fans say how it should be them and how they would expose us as over rated. I wish we were playing them, I would LOVE to shut them up!

    1. Ohio State can welcome Pete Carroll, Butch Davis, Jim Tressell, Jerry Sandusky, Jim Calipari, Bobby Petrino, Jimmy Johnson, and Lance Armstrong as headliners for a cheaters advocacy group.

      Ohio State cheated more than once. End of story.

      And they would get their butts kicked by ND. Urban Meier is even smart enough not to say otherwise.

      I’d ask any Buckeye fan who thinks they’d have a chance against Notre Dame, if they are smoking the weed so prevalently grown in the Southeastern part of their state.

      1. Keep J.S. out of the conversation. He is a sick criminal and the others don’t belong in his company.

  6. My feelings described above almost exactly except for one thing. I was only confident ND would win a certain game on this last Saturday. All the other games I was not sure they would win, I’ve been burned too many times watching them lose to Tulsa and Syracuse etc. For 20 plus years I’ve been waiting for this and I’m loving it. I love to be hated by the people in the office … I’m in Columbus and Buckeye fans are saying they wish they could play us. Believe me, I’d love to see that but it can’t happen.

    My feelings are that after watching this team win 12 games is that I truly believe they are the best team in the country. We lost three starters on defense and we still are the number 1 defense in the country. I won’t argue with people when they say ND was lucky and doesn’t deserve to be there, I will just let the Irish do my talking for me on January 7th!

  7. This team is making its own path. They themselves are opening up their own road, and handing out the stuff of legend.

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