Sean O'Shea by Sean O'Shea
Notre Dame football naysayers looking very foolish now -- Brian Kelly proves academic excellence and football can mix
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 08:27 AM
- Is Rory McIlroy a spoiled brat and just an overgrown child? - Antics during the U.S. Open leave his maturity very much in question
- Was Notre Dame’s Everett Golson caught cheating at exams leading to suspension? Quarterback statement hints at major integrity issue and harsh punishment does also
- Orb should win Preakness easily, Oxbow up for second
- Could Celtic boss Neil Lennon be next manager at Manchester United? - His European exploits, especially defeating Barcelona may put him in frame
- Orb has what it takes to win Triple Crown in 2013 - Kentucky Derby winner has breeding, connections and talent
All those naysayers who thought Notre Dame would never compete for a national championship again can sit down now.
A win over USC puts Notre Dame in the national championship game, likely against Alabama, an unheard of possibility at the start of the year.
The AP and BCS rankings this week make sweet reading for the Fighting Irish boosters who never gave up.
Yes, there have been the wilderness years with the likes of Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham.
But to counter that there has always been the amazing tradition and echoes just waiting to be re-awakened.
And now they have.
Most detractors insisted that the academic standards at Notre Dame had ensured that top players would always skip the South Bend campus trip.
Yes, Notre Dame graduates an incredible 96 per cent of their football students, the top rank in college football.
Alabama, by contrast, graduates just 75 per cent.
But Coach Brian Kelly was undaunted by the challenge that drafting intelligent footballers represented in the eyes of many.
“I have not seen anything here in my time that will not allow us to continue to have the highest graduation rate and compete for a national championship, and I’ve been doing it 22 years. So I think I know what it looks like if you couldn’t do it,” he said.
Amen to that.
See more: Irish in American Football