The thing you get when you’re a Fighting Irish fan is yours is the team everyone loves to hate. Like with Patriots and Celtics, due to your past success it comes with the territory. So when you lose a big one, the rest of the world makes salty margaritas out of your tears and happily sips them while relaxing in a bathtub of your blood. I get that. And I have no problem with it. To have any chance against Bama, Notre Dame needed to play a perfect game. And they responded with a perfectly gawdawful game. They played like a team that had never been in a big game and wasn’t ready for the moment. Way too emotional. Offside penalties. Over pursuits. Fumbled punts. Fielding a punt on the 4 yard line. And missed tackles. Piles of missed tackles. Mounds, hillocks, foothills, mountains, mountain ranges of missed tackles. Watching that mess it’s hard to imagine this is the same defense that only gave up 10 offensive touchdowns all season.
Not that it was all Notre Dame playing like garbage. There are no moral victories and all that, but there’s not a lot of shame in losing to that Alabama team. I have a confession to make: I like Nick Saban. A lot. Almost to mancrush levels. I know he’s a mercenary and it’s only a matter of time before he leaves Bama for the NFL then goes back to college and cashes in every step of the way. But that’s just doing business. Like Michael told Sen. Geary “We’re all part of the same hypocracy.” The thing I like about Saban is I spend more time on geeky football strategy websites than any man should, and he’s always on them. Conducting coaching seminars, laying out his philosophy, explaining his schemes. He’s one of those guys who knows how to coach tackle football and doesn’t hide what he knows like it’s the nuclear launch codes. And obviously he can recruit like nobody in the business. He had the Irish completely outsized and outmatched in the trenches. They ran left all night right into the strength of the ND defense and blew them off the ball. They won 1-on-1 matchups and still sent extra rushers. And if Dee Milliner could make his way onto the Patriots roster, I’d have him starting at corner this Sunday, no tryout necessary.
The bottom line is Notre Dame went from unranked to the national championship game. They were playing with the houses money, but ran into a team that was who we thought they were. Bama is only the best in the game, they’re the best by far. So enjoy it, Notre Dame haters. But don’t act like you’re not impressed. @JerryThornton1