It’s been an interesting college football season, and last night made it even more so. With Oregon and Kansas State falling, there are two undefeated major college teams: Ohio State and Notre Dame. Ohio State is ineligible due to NCAA sanctions, and Notre Dame will likely be the new number 1.
Getting back to number 1 has been a long, rough road for the Fighting Irish. Since the early ’90s, the once-vaunted program has fallen on very hard times — hiring coaches who just didn’t fit with the school and its mighty traditions, who somehow couldn’t recruit athletes to the school that boasts of Knute Rockne, The Four Horsemen, “Win one for the Gipper,” Touchdown Jesus, and Rudy as part of its football lore, and who led the team down the road to irrelevancy. But now, Notre Dame is back, rising to the top behind a defense that is the best in the land at preventing opponents from scoring. The Golden Domers have one more game to go — next Saturday, against the USC Trojans — and if they win, they will play in the BCS National Championship game.
I’m glad to see Notre Dame back in the picture as one of the elite college football programs in the country. Unlike some of my friends, I’m not an ND hater. I think the sport is better off if the storied school in South Bend is part of the mix. I’m hoping the Irish win on Saturday and make it to the championship game.
Notre Dame, like Ohio State, has an incredibly loyal fan base. It’s been kind of pathetic talking football with ND fans in recent years; they’ve been beaten down by uninspired play and repeated dismal seasons. This year, the Domers have their swagger back. When you’re a college football fan, it doesn’t take much to go from the depths to the heights — and sometimes right back down again.