[dropcap]H[/dropcap]opefully everyone had a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and was able to avoid any traveling fiascos and any family fighting/bickering/drama that the holidays ascend upon us. With that being said there was a very big football game being played in Los Angeles at the Coliseum between two teams known for their dominance and one team is known for their particular way boosters ‘assist’ the program. If one was to go back to July and look at both teams, the critics had USC and Matt Barkley locked for the BCS Championship and Heisman respectively and Notre Dame limping to the finish line probably with a modest 8-4 or 9-3 record with a few chokes here and there. Flash forward to Saturday November 24th in Los Angeles and ND is staring at an 11-0 record and USC is without their star QB who is nursing a shoulder injury who was taken out of the previous game by a player whose father happened to play on Notre Dame when they won a National Championship in 1988.
With Notre Dame, Touchdown Jesus, strutting in with a perfect record, one may have thought ‘I wonder if they will break out the green uni’s’ ‘will this west coast trip be another blowout by USC? ‘Who the hell is the QB for USC?’ Well, fortunately Coach Kelly probably incinerated the green jerseys which have been known to be a bit of a bad luck charm for the Irish. Luckily the Irish have matured and have a somewhat strong defense and a strong TE and WR core that were able to carry the team and Mighty Max just did not have the Trojan magic and showed his flaws throwing a couple that went the other way. Notre Dame simply had a [pullquote] USC just doesn’t have the swagger that it use to [/pullquote] better game plan than USC, USC was in scramble mode after the UCLA disaster and Lane Kiffin knew putting in a redshirt freshman against the number one team in the nation was similar to holding an M80 in your hand and avoiding losing it completely. USC just did not have the swagger that it had in the Reggie Bush/Matt ‘Dance class’ Leinart and Lendale ‘Pass me the Patron’ White. Notre Dame had something that they have not had in the past 24 years, a complete team. Sure, they’ve been to three BCS games, I witnessed when they played TJ whosyourmama and Chad ‘I got no job but I got twitter’Johnson and the #5 Oregon State Beavers who shredded the Irish 41-9. They then played the Ohio State Buckeyes and lost 34-20 in the Fiesta Bowl again and then got destroyed by LSU at their home away from home at the Sugar Bowl 41-14. Needless to say they could go for the Golden Sombrero of BCS games or go 0 for 2 against SEC opponents.
I could rant and rave about the BCS and say it’s flawed, etc,etc,etc. but I would probably need at least a bottle of Jack and Coke Zero to get the engines churning. The facto of the matter is, ND went undefeated. An accomplishment only one other team in the land did but due to a bowl ban they will be watching in Columbus. They beat four ranked teams this year, two were close and two were not so close. Their potential opponent(s) Georgia and Alabama, the bread and butter of the SEC. When I think of Georgia, I remember the pounding they gave to poor Hawai’i in the Sugar Bowl a few years back by the now QB of the Lions. As for Alabama, I think of Nick ‘I will not take the Alabama job’Saban (seriously, its on youtube I can’t make that shit up). Both teams bring some firepower to the table, Alabama brings a steady attack of rushing and the top defense in the country. The Bulldogs on the other hand lost to then #9 South Carolina and squeaked out a ‘W’ against the Gators, they bring a balanced attack of rushing and passing, with their D ranked 16th. Hondo is going to go with the favorite, Alabama. For the reason that this is Alabama’s third SEC Championship game. They are 1-1, Nick Saban is going for his third National Championship with the Tide and quite frankly this is business as usual, with higher stakes and I just do not see Georgia beating the tide. Prediction will be 35- 21.
As for the National Championship, I would love to say the Irish can run the table and cap off an undefeated year and cry tears of joy and the streets would be lined gold and navy but I don’t see it happening. For the fact, ND struggled at times this year nearly losing to Pitt who lost to Youngstown State, struggling against BYU, they squeaked by Michigan who was embarrassed at Jerry World at the start of the year. Plain and simple, the SEC is bigger/stronger/faster and as hard as Coach Kelly tries to sneak some recruits under the radar, Notre Dame will put up a fight but the Tide will roll and I predict a score of 27-17.
Being from the Midwest and growing up not too far from the campus of Notre Dame, I know that it emits an aura of prestige/history/honor/tradition. Knute Rockne, Joe Montana, Joe Theisman, Mike Golic, Paul Hornung all tremendous legends but I never bought into the hype. I have played many of hockey games at the Joyce Center and have toured the campus; it is not going to be named to any list of hottest campuses across America. South Bend is a blue collar town that happens to have an extremely well known institution in the middle of it. Notre Dame joins the ranks of the New York Yankees, Duke Blue Devils, Dallas Cowboys, The Miami Heat (current era) of teams people love to hate on the flipside I do know people who love the school more than their own undergrad, I always joke and say they have more donors that did not go to the school than those who did.
In closing, whoever the Irish play I will be rooting for their opponent not for the reasons I listed above but for the fact of this story (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5734494). I won’t go into further detail other than, please read it and please keep the Sullivan family in your thoughts this holiday season.
Happy Holidays everyone!