So this week has been a pretty slow week of work so far and thanks to technology I’ve been able to peruse the usual ND message boards to kill time. After what I saw, I really wish I hadn’t. There are actually people, and more than just a few, that actually prefer going 10-2 and NOT going to a BCS game to avoid getting blown out. That’s not a typo. Fans would actually rather the Irish go and play in some low tier Maxipad Bowl to try and get an easy win instead of playing on the national stage against a quality opponent. This is wrong. Very wrong.
Part of what makes Notre Dame what it is, is that the Irish always play one of the toughest schedules year in and year out all over the country. To put it simply, Notre Dame is never afraid to play anyone, anywhere. It’s always been that way and it damn well better stay that way. It’s part of the Notre Dame way.
Now don’t get me wrong, watching the Irish get destroyed on national TV is never fun. It sucks and I know over the last two decades fans have seen their fair share of it. I’ll never forget having to watch LSU and Jamarcus Russell, NFL bust of the century, destroy Notre Dame in the 2007 Sugar Bowl as I watched on a small TV in a government paid for hotel room the night before leaving for basic training. And watching the Irish get clocked in the mouth by Alabama in last years national championship game while watching in Afghanistan this past January was pretty damn awful too. But in no way shape or form do I ever regret playing in those games because you never know what can happen. It’s why you play the game.
Last season Louisville played Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Obviously Florida is in the SEC and obviously everyone thought they would roll over Louisville, who played in the lowly and now disbanded Big East Conference. In 2007 Boise State played Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl which projected to be a blowout win for the Sooners. Both of the underdogs, which nobody gave any chance to win, won their respective games shocking the college football world. Underdogs always have a chance, especially during bowl season.
Make no mistake, getting destroyed by Alabama was horrible. I couldn’t stand to watch and it made me sick. But in the darkness there is also light. Brian Kelly, his staff, learned that they had to have a different approach than what they had against Alabama. That loss, as bad as it was, showed the staff that changes needed to be made and a new plan for big post season games was needed. I’m not saying that Notre Dame will not ever lose a bowl game ever again, because that is not realistic. But I will say that I don’t think we will see a defeat of that margin again while Brian Kelly is the football coach at Notre Dame.
So to all Irish fans out there, who would rather play in a measly no nothing bowl instead of one last shot at a BCS bowl win, grow a pair. We are not the Big Ten, we are not the MAC, or any of these other lower tier teams and conferences. We are Notre Dame and to be the best you have to beat the best. Not by playing teams beneath you and declaring it a moral victory. The path to greatness is never easy but the taste of victory at the end is that much sweeter. Have some faith ND fans. You may just be pleasantly surprised.