The golden dome towering above the University of Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind. seems to be glittering as brightly today as when the famous Four Horsemen trounced all would-be competitors back when those courageous collegians wore leather helmets.
Yesterday's 38-0 drubbing of a mediocre Wake Forest team, coupled with unexpected losses by previously unbeaten Oregon and Kansas State, have Irish eyes smiling everywhere throughout the college football world and beyond.
Joke all you want about the luck of this Irish squad.
Argue about Touchdown Jesus' supposed divine intervention.
Postulate about a special Pope blessing on American soil.
Ruminate about the ghost of Knute Rockne influencing this year's team.
Or, speculate about Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly employing secret shamrock shenanigans behind the scenes.
Sure, this current 11-0 Notre Dame squad has squeaked by the likes of competitive Pittsburgh, Purdue, Michigan, Stanford and BYU teams to prime itself for the No. 1 spot in the BCS college football rankings. Plus, they've enjoyed unprecedented luck again yesterday with the surprising losses by the Ducks and Wildcats in games in which they were heavily favored to win.
But, the Fighting Irish' success this year has been earned. They've produced an unblemished record this late into the season for the first time since 1989 because of an outstanding defense anchored by Heisman hopeful Manti Te'o. These Irish can not only stuff the run, but they can also tormet the passer.
The Irish's good, albeit not great offense, excelled yesterday against Wake Forest and is led by a maturing quarterback in Everett Golson who seems to get better in every game he plays. Golson has an NFL ready tight end in Tyler Eifert and is surrounded by quick and speedy skill players in Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick.
The Irish remain college football's only undefeated team that is bowl eligible and should find themselves vying for the BCS title in early January if they defeat a struggling USC Trojan team next week in Los Angeles. The Irish got even luckier with news that Trojan star quarterback Matt Barkley was injured and may not play next week.
Count on Notre Dame getting past USC for a dream matchup with the winner of the SEC Championship game between Alabama and Georgia.
Expect a reborn, unprecedented allegiance to the independent Golden Domers in their quest to slay the giants of the so-called power conference. Notre Dame will finish their magical season as National Champion and make the Irish eyes of the famous Four Horsemen smile widely once again.
Straight talk—no static.
MIKE—aka Mike Raffone—the ultimate talking head on sports!