We all know how bad the Charlie Weis experiment went for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, but even during those dark days, there were moments and games that helped mask the rot inside.
Okay, okay... a lot of us knew it was rotten, but that shouldn’t spoil today’s fun.
2006 Notre Dame 14, Georgia Tech 10
Notre Dame began the season ranked #2 and on the road against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Irish were last seen getting torched by the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl. Still... Notre Dame had Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, Darius Walker, and a lot of other returning starters from a 9-3 team that could have played the Texas Longhorns for the National Championship with a few more breaks.
Anyways, it wasn’t a good game for the Irish or even a good win — especially for the #2 team in the country. Georgia Tech would go on to play in the ACC Championship that year and lost 9-6 to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (#goacc).
Notre Dame got annihilated by the Michigan Wolverines the following week, and took to the woodshed by the USC Trojans to end the season. Eleven games earlier was a moment when we should have known better.
2009 Notre Dame 33, Michigan State 30
It was a crap season that saw wasted potential week after week. But... at least it led to Weis finally being shown the door, and Golden Tate’s magnificence against the Michigan State Spartans. I merely submit this footage (that we have all seen 1000 times because dammit it’s good):
2008 Notre Dame 35, Michigan 17
After a 3-9 season that saw a 38-0 loss in Ann Arbor to the Michigan Wolverines, the start of the 2008 seemed like the start of something great. After Notre Dame went up 21-0 via a Jimmy Clausen bomb to Golden Tate — life was good again. Watch that play and watch the crowd’s reaction. People went nuts. It’s almost as if they forgot Notre Dame held on for dear life a week earlier against San Diego State.
The Wolverines went on to have a 3-9 season of their own, so... this wasn’t nearly as good as what it felt like at the time, and the Irish would go on to a 7-6 season with a win in the Hawaii Bowl. The Irish only beat two teams with a winning record that year... Navy and Hawaii.
Why on earth am I bringing this up? It’s just a simple reminder that not everything is what it seems, and we should all keep a cynical eye open while we fist pump the night away.