So this is what defeat feels like. I mean, after all, it had been over a year since the last time Notre Dame football lost a game, and I sort of, kind of forgot how this is supposed to taste.
If I listened to some twitter people and media outlets, I suppose I should be embarrassed that Notre Dame got beat so handily by Alabama 42-14. I suppose that in some ways this discredits Notre Dame's 12-0 regular season, and the Irish football team should be relegated to the Ivy League.
And then I suppose that anyone else that's not an Alabama fan can lick my ass. Yes. Lick my ass a thousand times over if you think this loss undermines an entire season of awesome.
More on that in a bit.
The game was an avalanche. The buildup of "holy fuck that sucks" started early and kept going for the duration. Just as even in these modern and technological times, man cannot stop an avalanche or a tsunami or an earthquake or a volcano from erupting; so too could Notre Dame not stop the natural disaster that is the Crimson Tide from rolling right over them.
Clearly, Alabama was/is the better team. I have no shame in admitting that. In fact, I have no shame for losing 42-14. Unfortunately these things can and do happen. However, because of the special circumstances at Notre Dame with the Independent status, Notre Dame fans, and the country for that matter, only really acknowledge success in terms of national championships. Chris Watt said it well:
“It’s hard because at Notre Dame you’re expected to win national championships. A lot of the things we did this season were just unbelievable, beating Oklahoma at Oklahoma, Stanford overtime victory. Those were all wonderful things but it really doesn’t mean anything when you don’t win the national championship. You can’t really win anything else here.”
All of that is 100% true, however, in this day and age, this kind of reasoning "ALL OR NOTHING" does no good at all. I understand it, but it should be executed by a hooded axman.
Lets time travel back to August. Suppose I put 20 different scenarios for the season on little pieces of paper, and put those pieces of paper in a hat. I ask you to pull one piece out. That piece reads: "12-1 with wins over USC & Michigan. Top 5 finish. Player X gets 2nd in the Heisman but wins Maxwell."
Then I ask if you want to pick again. Would you? Would you risk such a grand season for the possibility of the title?
I doubt you would. I wouldn't. And just as we wouldn't throw that season back into the hat, don't throw this season into the abyss.
There is still much to be proud about for this past season and the Irish have a bright future ahead. There is still much work to be done and there is no denying that fact, but Notre Dame was merely one game away from that this season.
Haters gonna hate- right? Absolutely. That's what they do, and what they do with more ferocity when there is a lot of success. Keep this thought in mind:
Love reading the tweets of fans whose teams lost bowls, didn't qualify for bowls, and have no chance of ever playing in a game like tonight
— Notre Dame Football (@uhnd) January 8, 2013
Notre Dame football is back, but it still needs to do some work to be able to rise above the raw power of natural disasters. Can they do it? Yes, absolutely. Will they do it? I'm not sure, but I'm going to support it in every way possible.
If Notre Dame is going to win a National Championship, it needs to recruit better players, better develop those players, and get those players better prepared for these type of games. All three of these things have been getting better since Brian Kelly arrived at Notre Dame, and there is no reason to think that they won't continue to get better while he is there.
I'm proud of this Notre Dame football team. Damn proud. This has been an amazing season and offers much more than a devastating loss to end things. It offers hope. Hope of things beginning, and in that I put my true heart.