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Has Notre Dame Football Had the Most Overrated Teams in History?

Plus Monty Williams wins the Sager Strong Award (and gives spectacular speeches that WILL make you cry), and Skylar Diggins-Smith and Sergio Perkovic bring home some hardware themselves

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame fans are sick of hearing it.

Every time the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a team ranked in the preseason, the general consensus is that ND is overrated, doesn’t deserve that ranking, and that they will easily underperform the poll’s expectations.

And, most years, Notre Dame fans then have to painfully watch all that blind hatred turn out to be true. The Fighting Irish have a penchant for having bad seasons when ranked high in the AP Preseason Poll, at least compared to other programs.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Southern California
This picture will look PRETTY HYPOCRITICAL a little later in this story, I promise
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t believe me? Think it just seems that way because everything that happens to Notre Dame gets blown out of proportion, and because that’s the team we (foolishly) root for and follow closest?

Then check out Jason Kirk’s article from yesterday, which goes year-by-year in identifying the team that had the most precipitous fall from grace, from the AP Preseason Poll to the end-of-season result. As you’ll see, Notre Dame is tied for the most disastrous falls from AP Preseason Poll Grace of all-time.

Now, there is a little comfort in ND being joined at the bottom by another storied powerhouse in USC (although being joined by them anywhere is really never a comfort), with another historic program, Michigan State, nipping at their heels.

Nevertheless, the next time someone tells you that Notre Dame is overrated in the preseason - it’s probably wise to bite your tongue and wait for the Irish to prove them wrong on the field. History is not on your side in that argument.

Must Watch: Monty Williams’ Speech After Winning NBA’s Inaugural Sager Strong Award

To move on to a much more inspiring topic, Monty Williams (former Notre Dame basketball star, NBA veteran, NBA head and assistant coach, and current VP of Basketball Operations for the San Antonio Spurs), was awarded the first-ever Sager Strong Award at the first-ever NBA Awards on Monday night.

Williams was an associate head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder in February 2016 when his wife Ingrid was killed in a a car crash in Oklahoma City, when her car was struck head-on by a vehicle that crossed lanes after losing control.

Williams gave an incredibly moving eulogy at her funeral, showing immeasurable strength and grace in his message and in how he composed himself for the sake of his five children.

The rest of the story is pretty incredible, and can be found in this Chris Ballard article on SI.com from April. What Williams went through, and how strong and positive he’s been for his family throughout everything, is nothing short of inspiring.

So, it’s no surprise that Williams’ speech in receiving Monday night’s award in honor of the late Craig Sager — who battled courageously through cancer before passing away in December — was also fantastic. You can just see the love and faith and strength oozing out of him as he speaks.

Congratulations to Monty, and I think I speak for all Fighting Irish fans when I say that he is the epitome of what a Notre Dame graduate, or even just any person in general, should aspire to be.

Also, he is ROCKING that Sager-esque jacket.

Other Awards!!!

Some other Notre Dame athletes have collected some honors this week to go along with Monty Williams’ amazing jacket.

Skylar Diggins-Smith was named WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging 20.3 points per game (on 54% shooting) to go along with nearly 7 assists per game. The Dallas Wings star’s big week included pouring in 30 points and accumulating 5 assists in a June 23rd win over the San Antonio Stars, all while shooting 7-of-11 from 3-point range in that contest.

Meanwhile, in NCAA Lacrosse, Notre Dame’s Sergio Perkovic (midfield) was named ACC Men’s Lacrosse Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Perkovic was a 1st Team All-American on the field, and was also a winner of the most prestigious award Notre Dame presents to its student-athletes, the Kanaley Award.

Hats off to Skylar and Sergio on their successes - keep on keepin’ on, you guys!