30 Minutes before kickoff. Notre Dame and Michigan are each 1-0, unranked, coming off impressive opening games.
The teams appear fairly evenly matched, each have strengths and weaknesses, and each have a lot to prove in their climb up the ever-growing mountain of respectability.
So why do I feel so apprehensive?
Is this the product of the last three years? A span where Notre Dame managed to play down to the level of every team they should have pounded, and simply laid down to any team with an advantage.
Is it the general inconsistencies of the Davie, Willingham, and Weis eras combined?
I can't truly be sure.
I remember walking campus the day of a game, knowing that the Irish would win.
It didn't matter who we were playing. Michigan. Penn State. USC. Florida State. We didn't think it, we knew it.
When we lost, it was a surprise. Total shock.
The change may have begun at the end of the 1993 season. A single week following the ultimate "beat all comers" moment in an upset win over top-ranked Florida State.
The heartbreaking 41-39 loss to Boston College in front of 59,070 (including one very impressionable 15-year-old: me) began the era of now knowing what was going to unfold on any given Saturday.
Since that loss 17 years ago, the program has been quite up and down.
The O'Leary mess.
They have filled my heart with doubt.
In comes the new savior in Brian Kelly.
A solid first step in beating Purdue last week. The team looked faster, more disciplined. All over better.
Against Michigan we have home field. We have the advantage at the skilled positions on offense with Floyd, Rudolph, Allen, Jones against a young and shaky Wolverine secondary.
Our speed at LB should be able to contain Denard Robinson.
So why do I listen to all the ESPN commentators that picked Michigan?
Why do I have this ever-present feeling of dread?
What is wrong with me?
Please, Brian Kelly...save me!