Welcome to this weeks Irish Blogger Gathering on Subway Domer. Friends, the regular season is rapidly coming to an end, and all of a sudden- WHAM… It's senior day.
The Irish are 10-0, #3 in the BCS, and are absolutely getting disrespected by the media as paper tigers.
Man, do I feel sorry for Wake Forest. Actually, I don't. I really don't…
Josh Flynt from UND.com's Strong And True was the pairing this week, and gave some great answers to my little interrogation. Be sure to stop over there to see his pairing, as well as the other IBGers Her Loyal Sons and Inside The Irish with Keith Arnold.
On to the IBG…
Lets get this out of the way right now… Give me your best argument for Notre Dame being ranked in the top two. Why should the Irish be playing for the National Title if all three win out?
Dennis Dodd laid the argument out in his article on Wednesday, but here are the main points I’d make:
- Strength of schedule: The Irish defeated 12 FBS opponents, with independents Navy and BYU being the only non-BCS conference teams. Say what you want about this year’s Boston College or Purdue teams, but there were no cupcakes, no gimmes, no glorified practices on Notre Dame’s schedule. Sure, several of the teams on the Murderers’ Row schedule underachieved this season, but that’s not Notre Dame’s fault.
- Common opponents: ND had an equally dominant victory over Miami, and a more impressive one at Oklahoma.
- Defense wins championships: For years, we’ve heard about the stellar SEC defenses. Now, we have Notre Dame, currently the #1 ranked scoring defense in the nation, and the Irish are getting knocked for not winning with “style points.” Notre Dame has given up nine touchdowns all season, and only one on a drive over 60 yards (in the first game of the year – a three-play, 75-yard score by Navy).
Aside from the numerical arguments, there’s also the “what’s best for college football” perspective. Notre Dame vs. Oregon would be the most compelling matchup. It would get the best television ratings, generate the most revenue, and make for the best story. New school vs. old school. Flash vs. tradition. Offense vs. Defense. Adidas vs. Nike. Kelly vs. Kelly.
What senior, that isn't a captain, are you most sad about leaving? Also, talk about this senior class a bit and what they have meant to Notre Dame.
Tough to pinpoint just one – I’d have to say the Trick Shot Monday crew, since I’ve gotten to know them over the last couple years – Braxston, Golic, Carlo, Robby, Kap, Goody, Stockton, Cierre, Jamoris, etc.
If I absolutely had to choose one, I think Robby Toma is a guy I’m going to miss having around next year. I remember when he committed, people said, “Oh yeah, cool. Manti’s best friend is coming,” and then sort of brushed him aside, as part of a “package deal.”
Robby’s been a reliable receiver, a veteran leader, and from everything I’ve heard, a great teammate. He’s only 5-foot-9, he’s always been a role player – the “next man in” in the Irish offense – and if you follow him on Twitter, you probably know how much he hates the cold weather.
He gets overlooked by his buddy Manti, but he has always played with a lot of heart and been true to Notre Dame. It’s a darn shame he doesn’t have another year of eligibility remaining.
On and off the field, this class breathed new life into Notre Dame football. The fifth-year guys committed on the heels of the 3-9 season. The other seniors remained at Notre Dame, when a coaching change after their freshman year could have easily steered them to another school.
There’s no telling what the future brings for Notre Dame football, but if this season is the start of the Irish’s return to the national spotlight – as I suspect it will be – these guys will be remembered as the cornerstone of that program. They’ve made being a Notre Dame fan fun again
Are the Irish in any real danger of being upset by the Demon Deacons? How do you think this game shakes out?
No. I don’t think Notre Dame is in danger of being upset. Obviously emotions will be running high on Senior Day, so there’s always the fear of coming out sluggish.
The Irish held Oklahoma’s high-powered offense to 13 points in Norman. I don’t see them giving up much to Wake Forest, currently ranked 111th in total offense (and especially poor on the road).
There’s too much at stake, and this team has too many great leaders to lose against a lesser opponent. I think Notre Dame will emerge victorious, setting up next week’s showdown in LA.