Notre Dame Football: Blowout in Ireland Signals Return of Program's Relevancy

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IISeptember 1, 2012

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 01: The Notre Dame team official mascot 'The Leprachuan' celebrates after the Notre Dame vs Navy game at Aviva Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland. Notre Dame won 50-10. (Photo by Barry Cronin/Getty Images)
Barry Cronin/Getty Images

Notre Dame’s blowout win over the Navy Midshipmen in Dublin, Ireland is a sign of bigger things to come for the Fighting Irish football program.

For too many years the Irish have been on the outside looking in on the BCS standings. It’s about time they take their place atop the list of the nation’s elite football programs.

Having dominated Navy two years in a row (after suffering shocking back-to-back losses in 2009 and 2010), it looks as if that resurgence may be happening. The Fighting Irish have dominated Navy throughout the 86-year rivalry—once claiming a 43-game winning streak against Navy from 1964 until their three-overtime upset loss in 2007). Overall, Notre Dame holds a 72-12-1 advantage in the series.

If Notre Dame is crushing Navy, all is normal in the college football world. If all is normal in the college football world, Notre Dame is back to its winning ways.

While beating up on Navy may not signal the return of the national championship going through South Bend, it’s a good start toward waking the sleeping giant under the Golden Dome.

A win like this—in which the Irish completely dominated in every aspect—is a statement that needed to be made by Brian Kelly’s team. Will that statement resonate throughout the rest of the season and carry them through the tough schedule that lies ahead?

If the Irish offense was that impressive without Tommy Rees and Cierre Wood, both of whom missed the game due to suspensions, it could really ignite when those key players return.

The question then becomes: Do they have enough fire power to win their schedule?

With tough road games at Michigan State, Oklahoma and USC, the Irish will certainly be tested. They also have tough challenges at home against Stanford, Michigan and Miami (FL).

One thing is for sure, if the Irish can build on the momentum gained from the blowout of Navy in Dublin, and begin to knock off the higher-ranked programs on their schedule, anything is possible in 2012.

You tell us, are the Irish back, or is it too soon to tell?


Mike Hoag is a Trends and Traffic writer for Bleacher Report and also covers the Cleveland Browns and the NFL for the site. Follow him on Twitter @BigHoagowski.