I know there’s a lot of hate for Notre Dame out in the sports world and I get that. There are a lot of legit reasons for a lot of people to not like them. But as a more or less neutral observer of college football (thanks Tulane!), I was a huge fan of Notre Dame this year. I thought they were the best team, and still pretty much do.
They were fast as fuck. They played smart and disciplined football. Their offense had a great balance and always kept clicking no matter how many stars went down. Their defense made more clutch 4th quarter stops than people realize, and it was so refreshing to see them make plays in an era where defense seems to be an afterthought.
People ripped on their schedule, but that was bullshit…
- Six opponents have been ranked this year
- Three opponents have been in the top 10
- Four opponents will play in conference championship games next week
Even some of their unranked opponents, like Texas, Virginia, and Georgia Tech had higher expectations before the season. I know you can look at the schedule after the fact and argue that it’s not as difficult as other CFP candidates, but you have to admit the number of high anxiety games they played were far more than any other team. That should count for something.
Brian Kelly is the best coach in college football. Notre Dame’s recruiting restrictions are stifling for most coaches, but he seems to stock South Bend with talent so easily. His gameplan for this game was genius and the way he called that final drive was absolutely beautiful to watch.
I know you can’t actually turn down points, but if Kizer’s last touchdown was overturned and Notre Dame has first and goal at the one after the offsides call, they definitely would’ve had the game in the bag. In Madden, you take the penalty instead of the touchdown, but you just can’t do that in real life.
If the Irish had made the playoffs, I would’ve bet the farm on them winning it all. Unfortunately, things didn’t go their way this year and that kind of sucks.