YESSIR. THEY DID IT.
I. FREAKING. LOVE. THIS. Your Notre Dame Fighting Irish have just finished the regular season undefeated. A perfect 12-0. I can’t believe it, but I actually can believe it with the way the team fights and their skill. It’s such a beautiful thing to see the Irish among the true college football elite in a season.
Even though it was tougher than it probably should’ve been, the Irish defeated archrival USC Trojans to get to this final point (WE KEEPIN THAT JEWELED SHILLELAGH). It was a rivalry game for sure. Tough game against the other team that probably should have more wins with their talent. However, USC was in a down year, and it makes it that much sweeter to win a rivalry game on the road.
After all of that, here are 3 of my thoughts from the game that I want to address.
3 Things from the ND-USC Game
You can’t have a perfect season without a little adversity.
Yeah, that game was way tougher than it probably should’ve been. However, I still think that especially in college football, there is no such thing as a smooth ride to an undefeated regular season. Look at the Ball State, Vandy, and Pitt games. Include this game in that list too. Winning is hard (shout out to @rakesofmallow here). You can’t expect everything to be absolutely perfect. It’s a game played by young, flawed individuals (they are human, so they are flawed). College football begets flaws. Even through that, the Irish prevailed. They came back against a tough rival with nothing to lose and showed how to win a tough game. It’s fine that this happened. They won all their games, and it is ok that a third of them were tougher. Even Alabama was tied at the half with The Citadel. It’s quite alright and isn’t something indiciative of the season. Good teams still have struggles, and we are a damn good football team. I also like how poetic it was to come back down the largest defecit of the season against our main rival and have the score be the same as the game against Michigan.
I’m a little surprised by my (and the team’s) overall subdued celebration of this feat.
However, I kept thinking late Saturday night that this should be the norm. The team I knew had the skill and the toughness to finish the regular season undefeated. It’s not that this is any less special than 2012, but I’ve seen this now. It’s not news, and it was expected as we got into the final stretch of the season. I’m more looking to see how the Irish could move even higher atop the college football world. This season will be a fantastic success regardless, but I’m waiting to see how they will do in the semifinal that they will presumably be in. It’s an AWESOME feeling, but I think the business-like reaction on Saturday was more of relief and a “Yeah, we should for sure be undefeated.” I almost wish I had teared up and yelled in celebration more like in 2012, but actually I’m glad this is more normal and that other celebration was a one time thing.
And with that, I’m excited to see how the Irish will do on the biggest stage.
It seems that the tough tasks have been accomplished so far. But now, it ratchets up to the point of looking toward playing one of the four best teams in football (and more than likely playing one of the two best). I want to see this team and how they react to that in a game setting. I think the Irish have set themselves up to have a chance at being the best. Like I said, we are in the college football elite right now. Additionally, I can’t wait to watch this team again. They are SO much fun to watch. Their chemistry and brotherhood is contagious, and I’m proud that they are kids that got the chance to continue a great season.