The date is October 28th, 2012. Notre Dame is in Norman about to play the most important regular season game since “The Bush Push” game in 2005. I am visiting a friend in San Diego and as kickoff nears, we cannot find a bar to watch the game. After unsuccessfully trying to find a seat at a “Notre Dame bar,” we find this little bar right on the beach. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was a woman wearing an Oklahoma jersey. I thought to myself, “Okay, they must have the game on in here.”
We sit down at the bar. Before I could order a drink, I get a firm slap on my shoulder. Next thing I hear in a deep Oklahoma accent was “You got a lot of balls coming in here.” I start looking around and see the bar is littered in Sooner and OKC Thunder memorabilia. I am behind enemy lines in an Oklahoma bar. So just like Edward Norton in American History X, I threw up my Irish hat as a flag and hoped a friend would see it. No one did. Long story short, after Theo Riddick scored to put the Irish up 30-13, a friendlier OU fan congratulated me on the win. I told him “As a Notre Dame fan, I’ve seen too many bad things to celebrate before the clock hits 0:00.”
I tell you this anecdote because just like a game, I do not expect a player to be in an Irish uniform until it’s gameday and they are running out of the tunnel. In light of the past weeks suspensions, I have seen the Irish lose so many players due to suspensions, transfers, leaving for the NFL, and decommiting. So here is what Notre Dame’s 2014 lineup would look like if none of those things could occur.
Starter: Everett Golson
Backup: Gunner Kiel
Let’s jump right in to the hypotheticals and pretend like Golson wasn’t suspended for the 2013 season. He most likely would have taken the next step that everyone expects him to make this year. But, Golson said that his suspension was a blessing in disguised because it made him in the leader is he is today. What makes this an interesting scenario is what if Golson still got suspended but Gunner Kiel never left for Cincinnati? What if Golson was never suspended but Kiel lived up to his 5-Star billing and beat Golson out for the starting job? Brian Kelly would have a bigger quarterback controversy than he “had” this season. Ultimately, I believe BK wants to have a dual-threat QB running his offense. So Golson gets the nod on this one.