Archived Story

It pains me to say it, but the Irish are back

Published 9:11am Thursday, November 29, 2012

Notre Dame defeated USC at the Coliseum and finished 12-0, thus preventing any potential for BCS bedlam.
If it pains the SEC fans to read this, just think how I am feeling.
Notre Dame is a Catholic school with a storied history of priests, prayer books and playbooks. Not to mention a few spiritual advisors (See Lou Holtz).
How many one-loss teams would we be talking about if Notre Dame did not come to the BCS’ rescue? Some would then suggest, that the 14-year BCS system was actually flawed, heaven forbid.
Thank you Notre Dame, for kicking five field goals and playing superb defense and thank you, USC Coach Lane Kiffin for the play-calling that made this mess possible.
Had Notre Dame lost, the SEC winner would have faced the survivor of an ugly BCS bake-off, pitting one-loss Oregon and Florida. Neither team won their conference, but we have been down that bumpy road before.
Fortunately, last season, the two best teams did play in the championship.
But in 2001, Oregon was No. 2 in both polls, but finished 4th in the BCS standings.
This could have been a possible “deja duck.”
Never mind how Notre Dame got here, that would take up too much ink. Overtime squeakers and questionable ref calls all made perfect sense.
Did anyone notice the two Irish players wearing No. 2 on the game-winning field-goal attempt Pittsburgh missed in overtime?
That would have given Pittsburgh another attempt to win it.
The referees didn’t see it, so it doesn’t matter.
Neither does a botched overtime replay call to defeat Stanford.
If Knute Rockne were alive today, he’d say of this season, “The breaks actually never went against these boys.”
Is it the luck of the Irish, or something much larger?
There is a tall library that you can see behind Notre Dame Stadium, with a lifelike mural of Jesus with his hands in the air.  This lifelike is affectionately called “Touchdown Jesus.”
On Saturday, Alabama and Georgia will meet in the SEC showdown to determine who plays Notre Dame.
As a football purist, it would please me to see Alabama meet Notre Dame on Jan. 7.
There is a story I have heard from my good friend, Jim Turner, who is a lifelong Alabama fan. Jim is also a purist and not a “fair weather “fan.
Years ago, Alabama had lost to Notre Dame and a player was overheard saying “It was never fair, they had Touchdown Jesus, and all we had was a Bear.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban had his own saying last Sunday after the Crimson Tide thrashed the Auburn Tigers. After losing his third wide receiver, Kenny Bell to an injury, Saban said this to the reporters;
“This is a process, what we do; there is no continuum in success. It’s an ongoing process.”
Will the SEC winner be perceived as backing into the championship again?
How about asking Oregon and Kansas State why they could not finish what they started.
“We understand you’ve got to fight,” said Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o. “There’s a reason why there’s four quarters.”
Of the final three contenders, Notre Dame is by far the most battle-tested.  If you have any doubts, just read Manti’s quote again. I have no doubt; he is receiving texts from his spiritual advisor, Lou Holtz.
Prediction: In their loss to South Carolina, the Bulldogs were out -rushed 230-115.  In their win over Georgia Tech, they gave up 306 yards on the ground.
Bama controls the line of scrimmage and the game.
Until next time.
Meyers is a college football columnist.