A new season began Saturday night for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Eight months of questions, theories, and hopes all came together inside a hot and humid Notre Dame Stadium against the Michigan Wolverines.
There was quite the lead-up for this game. It was the first time since 2014 that these two teams played, it was the season-opener, both teams were ranked in the top 15, and ESPN’s College GameDay chose this game to do their traveling circus routine.
It was quite the big deal.
One of the bigger questions coming into this game was something that had nothing that directly involved the two teams. How will the crowd at Notre Dame Stadium be for the game?
There was a fear that somehow the crowd was going to have a heavy contingent of Michigan fans in attendance — similar to what happened last year with the Georgia Bulldogs. I was not one of those that believed that would ever be the case. As it was discussed many times before, Georgia was a truly unique situation — Michigan’s been here before (many times).
Still, the often times “dead-ass” crowd in Notre Dame Stadium can be an issue. The atmosphere of a game, and the energy a crown can pump into the game can and will affect HOW the game is played. This isn’t rocket science — home field advantage exists for many reasons and the crowd accounts for a large portion of those reasons.
The Green Out absolutely worked. From a television perspective, it wasn’t the best showing, but live and in person, it was truly incredible to see what the Notre Dame crowd could do when they finally coordinated their fashion efforts.
From College GameDay and all through the day, waves and waves of fans wearing green were traveling all over the Notre Dame campus. It was quite impressive, and I gladly admit that I was wrong about the possibility of this failing.
HOWEVER... The University finally made the effort to do this, and that was my ONE caveat to success. Notre Dame committed to the Green Out and it turned out to be a great success.
Being inside the press box for most of the game, it’s generally hard to get a real good sense about the crowd noise throughout the game. Fortunately (I guess) when I did make it down onto the field for the last few minutes, it felt and sounded as intense as I’ve seen.
I wasn’t at the 2005 game against the USC Tojans, and I know many have said that game was as loud as any at Notre Dame. As far as I can tell, this year’s game against Michigan was on the same level. When the montage went up on the Jumbotron, the crown went absolutely nuts, and even inside the box it seemed quite impressive.
Well done fans.
This was every bit what a BIG game at home is supposed to look and sound like. After years of really struggling to nail down the formula, Notre Dame finally got it right. Green Outs should probably be used sparingly (maybe one more this year for the Stanford Cardinal) but I think the university finally remembered that it’s “okay” to help give itself a home field advantage. Something they have REALLY failed to do for many, many years.
They were able to have an absolutely electric and fired up crowd while maintaining that world famous hospitality that I think many Notre Dame fans and administrators have worn as a badge of pride.
They have a new badge now, and a new weapon.