Notre Dame Football: Three Days In October


Sep 6, 2014; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly leads his players onto the field before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Do you guys remember when Notre Dame’s football season was over before it even started? You know, when the academic fraud probe was surely going to cost Notre Dame a handful of games? Everybody was singing R.E.M. because Notre Dame was going to have another lost season? Well, I sure do. But, do you know what? It’s October, and Notre Dame is undefeated and has a bona fide Heisman candidate in Everett Golson. Golson’s leadership on and off the field has driven the Irish to their 4-0 start.

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It wasn’t long ago when many pundits at ESPN had the Irish only winning six games this season. It also wasn’t long ago when Yahoo’s Pat Forde claiming the suspensions would “hurt the product on the field.” All of college football had Notre Dame left for dead even before they played a down. Just like in Kill Bill when Bill crashed the Bride’s wedding rehearsal. But just like the Bride, Notre Dame is not going out without an empty clip. With that being said, championships are not won in September.

Notre Dame’s season is not going to be defined by the academic fraud probe, but rather by the 4th, 11th, and 18th of October. Imagine this. On October 18th, the Irish could be undefeated traveling to Tallahassee to take on Jameis Winston and Florida State. No one besides Irish fans would have said that a month ago. But first, let’s put the pin back in the grenade and focus on the task at hand: Stanford and the 4th of October.

Stanford is going to bring the nation’s top rated defense to try and erase the memory of the 2012 game. I would bet my collection of Pokémon cards that David Shaw has had the 2012’s goal line “stand” on loop in the Cardinal weight room. Stanford has one mission on Saturday; destroy the Irish and their chances of a playoff birth. But don’t expect Golson and the Irish to back down at home to a school whose mascot is a tree. As Jesse Pinkman once said, “This is my own private domicile and I will not be harassed.” 

“It’s not how you are dropped into the lion’s den; it’s how you fight your way out.”

If Notre Dame can handle Stanford and then North Carolina on the 11th, a looming date with the Seminoles will define Notre Dame’s season.  It will not longer be about how the academic fraud probe hurt the Irish, but how Notre Dame responded to adversity. It’s not how you are dropped into the lion’s den; it’s how you fight your way out.