Monday, November 28, 2005

2005 in Review

On September 2, 2005, anybody who said Charlie Weis would have Notre Dame at 8-3 would've been considered a wishful thinker. Anybody who dared to think 9-2 was delusional. But the Irish have not only wrapped up the season with that mark, they were two plays away from being 11-0 and in the national championship game.

So what will we remember most about the first season under "Chuck"? The 28-point second quarter outburst that buried Pittsburgh? The no-huddle surprise at Michigan? The dismantling of Purdue in primetime on ESPN? The epic loss to USC? 6 touchdown passes against BYU? Standing with Navy after the game for their alma mater? Or the latest, a critical fourth quarter drive that saved the season in a 38-31 victory over Stanford this past weekend?

We'll remember it all, needless to say. This has been a fantastic season and Notre Dame has a program it can be proud of once again, which in and of itself is a major step forward for Weis. But one major obstabcle remains: the bowl. The Irish haven't won a postseason contest since Jan. 1, 1994, the Cotton Bowl defeat of Texas A&M which many felt would secure at least a share of the national title - the Irish woke up the next morning to see the voters had given the whole enchilada to Florida State, the same Florida State that had lost to the Irish 31-24.

But enough of that. This team doesn't focus on the past. That's my job. And to those who will whine about the Irish coasting into a big-time bowl on the strength of a terrible schedule and dollar appeal, I only say this: the last time Notre Dame got so dogged as unworthy of a bowl appearence was the '92 Sugar Bowl. And Notre Dame didn't just beat Florida in that game, Notre Dame
killed Florida.

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