After a big weekend of Thanksgiving football, Notre Dame finishes undefeated and heads to the BCS Bowl with SEC winner.
When I started talking about the BCS picture a few weeks back there were 4 unbeaten, bowl eligible teams. Now there is one. The Fighting Irish of ND, unranked to start the season, completed their spotless regular season with a resounding 22-13 victory over the USC Trojans Saturday night in LA. The Irish used 5 Kyle Brindza field goals and 146 rushing yards and a TD by RB Theo Reddick to secure a spot in the BCS Championship Game on January 7th in Miami.
ND’s opponent will be decided this Saturday in the SEC title game between Georgia and Alabama, which sport identical 11-1 records, 7-1 in the SEC. The 4th ranked Florida Gators also finished 11-1 but lost out to Georgia and Alabama on tie breakers and will likely take on Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
The Crimson Tide had been number one most of the season but lost at home to Texas A&M to seemingly spoil their championship dreams. However, subsequent losses by previous unbeatens, Kansas State and Oregon, sent Bama back up in the polls to No. 2 with a shot at playing for the title, if they can get past an underrated Georgia Bulldog squad on Saturday.
There is one other unbeaten team on the outside looking in and that is Ohio State, which finished 12-0 and 8-0 in the Big Ten under new coach Urban Meyer. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes they are serving a one year post season ban, among other penalties, for various violations under former coach Jim Tressel. Ohio State finished their season ranked 4th in the AP Top 25 poll and 3rd in the ESPN Power poll and will star QB Braxton Miller just a sophomore, the Buckeyes should be a force next season and beyond. But for now they will be spectators while Notre Dame and either Alabama or Georgia play for the National Championship.
Who is going to win it? It seems like Notre Dame is a team of destiny this year. Coach Brian Kelly is in his 3rd season and the three prior Irish coaches that won National Titles, Frank Leahy, Ara Parsegian and Lou Holtz, all did it in their 3d year as head coach. It is also hard to root against star LB Manti T'eo, who is leading the defense and is a rare defensive Heisman Trophy candidate despite suffering through the deaths of his girlfriend and grandmother on consecutive days this past September. In Miami on January 7th I think we will be hearing the Notre Dame Victory March waking the echoes cheering her name.
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