Notre Dame has been BC’s bitch for, well, all of this century as the kids from Chestnut Hill have taken five of the last six from the Irish. So naturally ND responded the only reasonable fashion: they took the Eagles off the schedule. (Oh and Kevin White, now that Tom O’Brien is gone, this might actually prove to have been a pretty bad idea).
While the recent lack of success against our brethren Catholics has been frustrating to say the least, the lingering resentment for Irish fans goes back to the 1993 game. Really, beating Bob Davie and Ty Willingham? Big deal. Spoiling that season? Still stings right here.
BC came into South Bend on November 20th, the week after ND had knocked off top-ranked Florida State. It had been Notre Dame’s sixth or seventh “Game of the Century” in about a five-year span. Ah, the glory days…
Obviously still hungover from the upset win over the Noles, ND got down early and often before staging a huge comeback that was startling for how incredibly inept BC’s defense was in defending the deep ball.
Seriously, the Irish had what seemed like only one pass play designed to go deep. It wasn’t even too sophisticated. It was just Derrick Mayes running the seam route straight up the middle of the field. ND must have hit that play 3 times for huge yards and a couple of TDs in putting up 22 points in about 10 minutes of game clock time to take a 39-38 lead.
Yeah, upset averted. Season saved. We’re going to a bowl game to play for a national championship. Whew…
BC had time enough on the clock to move into position and kick a field goal on the game’s final play. They end up winning 41-39.
Here’s what nobody ever talks about in that game. After the go-ahead touchdown, ND was flagged for excessive celebration.
What was excessive? After the score there was a dogpile of players in the end zone. It was just a spontaneous display of emotion by kids. There was no taunting. No hotdogging. No nothing.
It was a total bullshit call. The rule was designed to curb unsportsmanlike celebrations. And someone correct me if I’m wrong here, but the rule was clarified to that extent after the 1991 Texas v. Miami Cotton Bowl in which the Canes basically set sportsmanship back a solid three decades in racking up double-digit personal foul calls. Hell, I think they had two on the opening kick-off alone (and unbelievably converted the 1st-and-40 with relative ease).
Anyway, the Irish were flagged. It cost them 15 yards on the kick-off. It gave the Eagles 15 yards of filed position. And without it, BC never would have gained enough field position to hit the game-winning field goal as time expired.
It’s not the only reason ND lost—memo to Lou Hotlz 14 years after the fact: cover their fucking tight end, please—but without it, they probably don’t win. And for all the amazingly favorable calls ND has been the benefactor of over their years, they’ve been on the other end of plenty of inexplicably bad ones in some of the biggest spots as well (there was a similar celebration penalty against ND in the opener at Michigan in 1999, a phantom illegal block behind the play on Rocket’s return in the 1991 Orange Bowl, take your pick between the bad spot or non-call on the infamous Bush Push in the USC game, etc.)
This isn’t sour grapes, although shit if that isn’t the taste in my mouth still. BC won. It wasn’t a gift. They put up 41 points fer chrissakes.
Still, I’m posting this before the kickoff of the game today (October 13, 2007) because I don’t believe it karma, but I marvel at how often something karma-like occurs. And if it takes almost 15 years to return the favor, well, revenge is a dish…
ND actually has little chance today. The defense is improving, but I wouldn’t count on a repeat of the seven turnover performance against UCLA last week. The offense, however, is worse than woeful. And the O-line still couldn’t block the doors to an abortion clinic.
But BC is currently ranked #4. So if there are any echos to wake up today and if those echos sound something like, “Hey, let’s fuck BC’s dream season,” then I just want to be on record as calling it.
Of course it’s a riskless proposition. And I’m not really “calling it.” This is much more like praying for a miracle. We are inferior at every position on the field. We should lose. And handily.
But it’s also our last chance for Lord knows how long. No really, we’re both Catholics, so it’s probably up to Jesus if we’re going to rekindle the rivalry in the future.
[Ed Note.: Well, I was partially right. Only where I thought there would be karmic payback, there was only history repeating itself. Same penalty. Killed all of the Irish momentum. Gave BC a short field and turned a 6-point game back into an uphill struggle for the Irish. Didn’t help to have a TD pulled off the board on a borderline call either. Seriously, there is nothing unsportsmanlike about a bunch of kids dogpiling each other in the end zone. I will politely request that whatever committee or baord makes the rule changes for college football revist that rule and clarify it further so that teams aren’t kicking off from their own 15 just because they got excited about making a game of, well, a game. Oh, and feel free to take all the time you need to go fuck yourselves first.]