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Notre Dame Football: A Visit from St. Freeman (a.k.a. ’Twas the Week Before Kickoff)

This poem was a lot longer than I realized

Syndication: Notre Dame Insider John Mersits / USA TODAY NETWORK

’Twas the week before kickoff, when all through the land

Irish nation was stirring, their plans were so grand.

The season would start with a trip to Dublin

Where they’d face familiar foes, the Midshipmen.

It’s the first real look at the new quarterback

Paired with Big ’Dric and that young rushing attack.

A return trip to South Bend for the home debut

Is made somewhat sour by the team coming through;

But although Tennessee State may lead some to balk

Let’s all just be grateful the game’s not on Peacock.

Then move on to Raleigh to face NC State

Which should be the first real test on ND’s plate.

Then come the Chippewas to be a tune-up

For the headlining showdown that’s been built-up;

It’s a chance at revenge for head coach Freeman

To slay his alma mater and a few demons.

The pundits are sure to hype the Buckeyes wideouts

But the Irish, too, are running touchdown routes:

Now, Thomas! Now, Greathouse! Now, Flores and Tyree!

Salerno and Faison! Merriweather and Colzie!

To the top of the post! To the back-shoulder throw!

Get one foot down! One foot down! Just tap a toe!”

When Hartman connects on that game-winning pass

Odds are fans won’t make it to Sunday morning mass.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Follow that with a tricky game against Duke;

Expect a nailbiter to give viewers a spook.

And if that’s not quite enough to instill fear,

The Irish face Jack Plummer a third straight year;

Jeff Brohm and Louisville shouldn’t be an obstacle,

But back-to-back road swings can lead to debacles.

No rest for the weary as Notre Dame comes home

For another shot at revenge under the dome.

Riley and Williams lead USC to town;

Topple the Trojans and they’ll shut the ‘Backer down.

Return the jeweled shillelagh to its rightful spot

And let Caleb’s fingernails be painted for naught.

Then comes a break after eight weeks of action,

And now Irish Playoff hopes are gaining traction.

A complaint-filled date with Narduzzi and Phil

Won’t be made better by any Instagram swill;

Send the Panthers packing, then bring on more kitties;

A road win over Clemson would be so pretty.

Slay the Big Three and the final prize is in sight;

Beat Wake and Stanford and it’s on to the real fight.

And on the way to earning a top-four seed

Pick up some trophies to recognize great deeds.

Bednarik or Thorpe for Benji Morrison,

The Outland for Alt, and Sam gets the Heisman.

Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Then conquer the summit, those final two games;

’Dawgs or whoever, just kick butt and take names.

And as Marcus hoists the trophy, let the haters hate;

It won’t mean a thing when it feels like ’88.

And may we all always be benedictory

For when the Irish marched on to victory!