I talked about the hate Notre Dame has started to receive since they won a close one against Pitt last Saturday. (It is Now Notre Dame Against the World) After more thought, I decided to look at the other side of things and from everyone else’s point of view.
There is a clear Notre Dame bias here and it isn’t like I try to hide that. So seeing all of the hate thrown towards the Irish after they struggled against Pitt was frustrating to say the least. Hating or putting down the Irish is the cool thing to do, its like hating the Yankees, its easy. But on the flip side it is also easy to go back over the last few years and point to issues Notre Dame has had.
The Last Seven Years
Notre Dame has been here before, three times in the last seven seasons actually. In 2012 Notre Dame went undefeated but started to struggle towards the end of the season. Two of their final four games were one score games and another was a sloppy win against Pitt.
In 2014 the Irish were cruising through their schedule sitting at 6-0. they then lost a close contest to Florida State and the season crumbled. After a hot start, the Irish limped to an 8-5 finish. The season was salvaged with a bowl win over LSU but it was a disappointment for sure.
Then looking at 2017 and it is more of the same. The Irish were 8-1 with their only loss a one point game to Georgia. That is when Miami happened and every Irish fan remembers that debacle. Notre Dame was considered a legitimate playoff team and were being carried by the electric play of Wimbush and consistent running from Josh Adams. But November has been unkind to Kelly and the Irish.
Kelly is 8-11 in the month of November over the last five seasons. September has always been strong for Kelly and he started his career with Notre Dame going 11-1 in November. Since then it is fair to say the wheels have totally fallen off and Notre Dame has struggled through November since.
Everything above is what makes people question Notre Dame. What makes the fan base question Notre Dame. But this year is different.
Anyone reading this that is unfamiliar or hasn’t watched Notre Dame just scoffed at that last sentence. Which is totally fair because again, I have a bias and this is a Notre Dame site. But for the people that don’t watch Notre Dame weekly, here is a few things the Irish have done to buck the trend this season.
-Kelly was 3-10 against ranked opponents in away games at Notre Dame. He went into a hostile environment and beat Virginia Tech at night.
-BK was 3-7 against Stanford since arriving at Notre Dame. The Irish dismantled Stanford 38-17.
-Notre Dame has played the second strongest strength of schedule of top ten teams.
-The Irish have a top 30 ranked defense in the country while playing against a strong schedule.
It is easy to look at the eight point win against Ball State or the five point win against Vanderbilt and brush off Notre Dame. The difference now is Ian Book at QB which has made this team a real contender. ( He is a major key here, What Makes Notre Dame Different in 2018)
Pitt was a struggle but there are always going to be ups and downs throughout a season. Pitt executed a great game plan but Notre Dame adjusted and found a way to win. It wasn’t pretty but got the job done. Clemson slipped past Syracuse and Ohio State almost didn’t walk away from Penn State unbeaten. College football is weird.
Final Thought on Notre Dame Criticism
It is totally justified. As fans it is like watching someone pick on your brother. Only you can make fun of him because he is your brother. The only problem is your brother has been a totally fake, unreliable douche the last few years. It is easy to hate Notre Dame because of the history and constantly being asked, “is Notre Dame back?”. Just like Texas I say they are, except my opinion is subject to change week to week. After taking a few days to recover from the onslaught of Notre Dame criticism, I can now say I get it. They have to prove themselves just like everyone else. Alabama gets a pass, Clemson gets a pass, Notre Dame has to earn theirs.
Let people hate, Notre Dame needs to earn their stripes again. But as always #GoIrish
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Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. I have covered college football since 2017, wrote for Saturday Tailgate and Fansided. Covering all things Big 12 from recruiting to opinions on the best conference in college football.