Wow, what a great college football game!
The pageantry, surprisingly nice weather, a close game involving an undefeated team ranked in the top 5 were all part of the package that makes college football so special. The freshman quarterback was outstanding, running and passing his team to another victory. Of course, I am referring to … the Oregon Ducks win over USC.
I could have been referencing Notre Dame’s latest episode of “Survivor”, but the triple overtime win by the Irish was not even one of the top 3 games televised Saturday night. For drama, maybe it was third. For good football, it was not even close.
I am not an ND hater. Honestly. I am one of the few who is neutral towards the Fightin’ Leprechauns. I loved Lou Holtz, not so much Brian Kelly. Big fan of Manti Te’o, as I was Brady Quinn. Jimmy Clausen? His arm, yes; him, not really. I am very impressed by this year’s defense. I root for Everett Golson, not as much for Tommy Rees. But what makes me cringe is every time ND is mentioned as a possible national champion this year.
Besides the Oregon-USC game this past weekend, Alabama versus LSU and Kansas State-Oklahoma State had top echelon college teams. Putting ND in the conversation with those squads would be like comparing an undefeated Bethel College men’s basketball team to IU; an unbeaten Ft. Wayne Mad Ants from the NBA D-League to any NBA team. They literally are not in the same league.
Speaking of which, where would the independent Irish be if they were in a league? In the Big 10 they would probably be second on the Leaders side behind Ohio State and tied for first in the Legends with Nebraska and Michigan. Big 12? Second behind Kansas State. Pac 12? Tied for second in the North, third in the South. SEC? Third in the East, second or third in the West. ACC? Tied for first in both the Atlantic and Coastal. Big East? Tied for first with two other teams. So being generous, there are at least eight other teams ahead of them, and seven right with them. Top 15? Granted. Top-shelf? No.
Comparing scores from common opponents can be misleading, but here is one to ponder. Oregon went to USC and put up 62 points. The freshman QB threw for over 300 yards (4 TDs) and rushed for over 100 while their top running back ran for over 300 yards and five TDs. How close will Notre Dame come to those numbers against a beat up Trojan team three weeks from now? USC did put up 51 points against the Ducks. There is no way that will happen against the Irish. (See, I don’t always go against ND.) But even if ND some how, some way, defeats the Trojans, the Irish playing against another top 5 team in a bowl game would be a terrible ending to a crazy season. The only thing more terrible than that would be a loss to Boston College this week.