Dear Notre Dame,
At the start of the season, almost no one predicted that you would be facing the USC Trojans with a chance to play in the BCS National Championship Game at stake.
In fact, it was supposed to be the other way around.
USC was the team that started No. 1. They had the preseason front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, Matt Barkley, a tandem of wide receivers destined for NFL glory and a supposedly mediocre Pac-12 schedule to systematically annihilate on the way to a matchup with an SEC foe.
Yet, as the season has progressed, the tables have slowly turned. USC’s inconsistency has plagued them all season long, while you, who started the season unranked in the AP Poll and who were barely considered for the National Title, have continuously proved to be a stubborn group that refuses to lose.
Defeating the likes of Michigan, Michigan State and Oklahoma, you have quickly risen to become the top team in the land.
For your fans, I realize this season could not have been any more satisfying. The storied tradition of your dominance over the college football landscape has seen many roadblocks over the course of the last decade.
From the failures of Bob Davie to live up to expectations, to the George O’Leary scandal, to the horrible losses under Tyrone Willingham and finally to the false promises of Charlie Weis, you have suffered quite a bit.
However, now you are back. Led by Brian Kelly in his third season, an explosive freshman quarterback in Everett Golson, and one of the fiercest linebackers ever to don the golden helmet in Manti Te’o, you have returned to prominence in the college football community.
Only one game stands between you and your ultimate goal of the BCS National Championship Game, and I can assure you that the whole country will be behind you.
See, this is because you are possibly the only team standing between a second consecutive all-SEC BCS National Championship Game. So while fans usually take a polarizing position to your team, you have now become the beloved underdog on a quest to challenge the strength of the mighty SEC.
We are tired of the grueling battles between traditional SEC powers. We are bored of watching the same programs win National Championship after National Championship, and especially after last season, when we had to witness Alabama beat down LSU in the least-entertaining BCS National Championship Game in recent memory, more than ever do we crave someone else to cheer for.
With Kansas State and Oregon both losing to inferior opponents last week, you may be our last hope of avoiding another all SEC BCS National Championship Game (unless Florida loses to Florida State or Alabama and Georgia are miraculously upset).
Your gritty squad continues to defy the critics, and all we are asking for is one more gutsy effort.
Even many of the SEC’s most die-hard proponents want you to win. While you may break up their private party in Miami, you present a new challenge. Your team poses a threat to the SEC monopoly of college football power, and like all threats, you must be dealt with.
SEC fans would like nothing more than to flex their muscles on the sport’s grandest stage against a school with a tradition like yours.
These SEC fans know there will always be doubters of their greatness, and by defeating you, at least these naysayers would go to rest for another year.
Yet we do not feel you will falter if you make it to Miami in January. Your defense has shown it can stop even the most explosive offenses, and with a game-changing play or two by Golson or Cierre Wood, you could become victorious.
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet, though. You still need to beat USC and Marqise Lee to get to this point.
We just want you to understand that by going to the BCS National Championship Game, you will be offering us fans what we all enjoy most about college football: the unexpected.
The beauty of the BCS National Championship Game is that it generally pits two teams from different regions with different resumés against one another.
Because of this—and no matter what the experts or anybody may predict—nobody really knows what is going to happen.
Remember how awesome it was when Ohio State upset the unbeatable Miami in 2002? Remember the greatness exhibited by Vince Young when he ruined Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush’s dream season in 2005? Remember when Michael Dyer’s run led Auburn to a last-second field goal in 2010?
No one thought these events would transpire. Yet they did, and we were all entertained and mesmerized by the magnificence of it all.
When two teams from the same conference play in the BCS National Championship Game, it is just different. For one reason or another, it seems as if each team's familiarity with the other changes the dynamic of the game, limiting the hype, ruining the drama of the unknown and creating a less-thrilling climax to the season.
Since you are maybe our last hope, Notre Dame, we need you to bring excitement back to college football’s most important game in 2013. We need you, more than ever, to beat USC and then, in a few weeks, stare down an SEC opponent and attack them head on like you have done to every opponent thus far this season.
As you storm onto the LA Coliseum field tonight in your final test, know that we will be watching, hoping—some of us even praying—that you can earn a trip to what will be one of the most anticipated and electrifying BCS National Championship Games in history.
College Football Fans Everywhere