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High tide for Bama, low tide for Irish

January 10, 2013

South Beach was not as kind to the Notre Dame football team as South Bend has been, but honestly, who was surprised? And now that the college football season is complete, we can separate fact from fiction.

FICTION: Based on earlier bowl game outcomes, the SEC was not as good as advertised.
FACT: The SEC had six teams in the top 11 heading into the bowls. Four won decisively, punctuated by Alabama’s 42-14 victory over ND. One loss (LSU) was by one point to No. 14 Clemson. Rumors of the SEC’s demise were greatly exaggerated. The SEC has now won the last seven national championships, with ‘Bama winning three in the last four years.

FICTION: ND has an SEC defense.
FACT: This is actually a fact. ND has Tennessee’s defense. (The Volunteers lost to ‘Bama, 44-13.)

FICTION: Brian Kelly said his team was not just happy to be there. They had “Unfinished business.”
FACT: The Irish should have been very happy to be in warmth of south Florida at the start of January. Unfortunately, they had to play a football game against a team a few notches above them. T-shirts with the mantra “No Business Being Here” might not have been such a hot sell but would have been more accurate. However, being unranked to begin the season, then going 12-1 is certainly something to be happy about.

FICTION: ND collapsed in the championship game OR The Irish laid an egg OR The Irish did not take their talents to South Beach
FACT: ‘Bama is just better. Too many times media, coaches, parents, stat geeks, etc., place the blame in the wrong place. Most of the time a team loses it is … because the other team is better!

FICTION: ND is back!
FACT: Not yet. The Irish have now played in four BCS games, all losses by at least 14 points and three by at least 27. Brian Kelly’s tenure was looking like Charlie Weis II, but because of this year’s surprisingly good record, he will be back. With a projected No. 2 recruiting class, 4 offensive and 7 defensive starters returning, and a favorable schedule for 2013, the Irish should be a bonafide top 20 team for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of next year, sure W’s should include Temple, Purdue, Michigan State, Air Force, Navy, and BYU. Michigan, Oklahoma, USC and Pitt all have new quarterbacks to break in which favors the Irish. The only question marks will be versus an up-and-coming Arizona State team on a neutral field and the final regular season game at Stanford.

Until then, remember the “magical” times from 2012 Irish fans and quickly forget the bowl game. (It never happened according to the Mayans!) It was an amazing season.

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