Monday, January 07, 2013

Notre Dame versus Alabama

Later: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14. Ouch! Whadda nightmare!

Lost in this debacle is the fact that Notre Dame was unranked preseason & consensus was the team was a year away from really making an impact. Then they got lucky. They kept winning, including some games that were signs & portents of  vulnerability.  They over-achieved.  Oregon & Alabama lost games. Had the Irish lost a game during regular season, been ranked 4 or 5, played in another BCS bowl & won, or kept it close, the season would have been deemed a success, with great hopes for 2013-14.
Rooting for Notre Dame tonight.  Not as a Notre Dame fan -  a pair of married N.D. alumni friends softened me up a bit over past few years. With the possible exception of Tennessee, it's impossible for me to favor an S.E.C. school.

It's more that I grew up in an Army football family with a connection to the glory teams of WWII, an uncle at West Point then.  There was still some national prestige attached to Army in the late Fifties, with Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins.  For years, the Army - Notre Dame game at Yankee Stadium was a national event. Army usually got its butt kicked. The series is Irish 38, Army 8, one tie - that 1946 scoreless contest one of the "Games of the Century." But it was an honorable rivalry, filled with tradition dating back to the famous 1913 "forward pass" game with Knute Rockne making the catches. It's generally forgotten that Army won in 1914.  Army fans will gladly point out that Navy has played Notre Dame nearly twice as many times, winning only 12 games.

The game Notre Dame won for "The Gipper"  was against Army. (See Ronald Reagan, whose career might have taken a different path had he not played George Gipp in "The Knute Rockne Story.")

Both teams still have their traditions & pageantry. No matter how awful Army is, a game at historic Michie Stadium  at West Point is an unforgettable experience. There  is a bond between the two teams.  Whatever one thinks of Notre Dame's conceit & arrogance (fueled by a relentless P.R. machine), The Joe Paterno / Penn State scandal showed that hubris takes many forms, even quietly evil ones masquerading as sainthood.

I'm not forgetting that there is at Notre Dame an unresolved sexual assault tragedy involving a current player & a St. Mary's student who later committed suicide. Notre Dame thinks it has been resolved, the dead student's family does not, nor do some Notre Dame alum sitting out this Championship Game because of it. It's received pitifully little attention over the past month. There may also be a second incident. Should Notre Dame win the Championship (I think "Bama will prevail), there could be a ticking time bomb inside it the Irish publicity machine cannot defuse.

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Judging by the outcry, you have missed the most salient point of that game - Brent Musbergur's comments about McCarron's girlfriend.
An old sportscaster gushing over a beautiful young woman. How peculiar.
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