Notre Dame Fighting Irish Given One Last Chance at Redemption

Gregory WayneContributor INovember 24, 2010

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: Robert Hughes #33 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates his touchdown with teammates agianst the Army Black Knights at Yankee Stadium on November 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

And then there was one.

Due to back-to-back impressive victories by the Irish, my quest to become known as the world’s smartest man is still alive!

In what some called a satirical article, I predicted that Notre Dame would finish the season with three straight victories. Although the finish would be highly unlikely, I felt that it was still possible.

With a strong finish the Irish would be able to complete the season with some dignity and leave hope to the Irish faithful that the future of Notre Dame Football still had light at the end of the tunnel.

Test one of three came, and for the first time of the season Notre Dame was able to put together an entire game. Utah came into the game boasting an impressive record from a not so impressive schedule.

I stated earlier in the season my distain for Utah’s ranking, but regardless of the many issues of the BCS and other ranking systems, the Notre Dame faithful were finally given something to cheer about. As I predicted, Utah came into the game beat up and worn down, lacking the confidence they once had earlier in the season. Thank you TCU!

The Irish apparently took full advantage of their much-needed time of rest and jumped on the opportunity to kick Utah while they were down. Freshman Tommy Rees performed better than expectations, and the Irish defense actually came into a game with a solid defensive strategy.

With their first win over a ranked team in years, and the best victory so far of Brian Kelly’s tenure, Notre Dame was able to make a statement that the struggling program still had a pulse.

Heading into the new Yankee Stadium, the Irish were able to carry that momentum from the previous week. After back-to-back losses to Navy and Tulsa, many had started doubting ND’s chances against an up-and-coming Army squad due to the similarities of their offense to Navy’s.

Luckily it appeared that finally the defense had learned from their previous miscues of the season and posted their second consecutive victory with solid play on both sides of the ball.

Now ND has shown us all that there is still hope to salvage something from a difficult, injury-ridden season with a bowl berth to come. Now the only question is whether or not the same team will show up for the final meeting of the season.

The Irish head to USC this weekend for their final matchup of the season and my last chance at redemption for having what some would say too much optimism. This is not USC’s season, but regardless of records, this is always a game to watch. Both teams come into Saturday with something to prove to their fanbases, and it will be a hard-fought contest all around.

It may seem that ND finally has the program back on track, but the final test will come in a few short days. This is another statement game for the Irish. Will Kelly’s comment from earlier in the year that he wants to be playing the best ball of the season in November come true? It’s time to find out.

A season of heartbreak is coming to an end. There is still an opportunity to keep our dignity and leave hope for a new era. Get your plate of Thanksgiving leftovers ready and grab a seat with the smartest man alive for what will be the most important game of the season for ND.

It’s time to prove the naysayers wrong and show that we are still relevant. No chance for a BCS bid, but a victory over a much-hated rival and a somewhat respectable bowl win to end the season would keep the Irish eyes and the rest of the nation watching for what will be known as the new era of ND football.