Irish Lose to ‘Bama

Frankly, I’m stunned.

Anybody who watched the ‘Bama Crimson Tide roll completely over the ND Fighting Irish during last night’s BCS national championship game knows what I mean.

‘Bama, as usual, brought its “A” game. The Irish, sadly, failed to show up at all, leading to an ugly 42-14 trouncing.

The analysts and nay-sayers will have a field day with this one.

They’ll be quick to point out that the Irish — long a holdout on joining a football conference — didn’t face an opponent of merit all season long, thus earning them a perfect 12-0 season. But that disses the Irish’s worthy opponents, most of whom went on to post-season play, where many emerged victorious.

The pundits also will say the SEC has long been a dominant force in college football, and the Irish can’t compete with their size, conditioning, and power. But tell that to the Irish’s seven Heisman Trophy winners, 44 College Football Hall of Famers, 188 First-Team All-Americans, and 471 NFL draft picks (all figures which out-distance ‘Bama by a sizable margin).

In any competition, there’s a winner and there’s a loser (or rather, a non-winner). There are no losers on this Irish team.

They might have lost one football game (albeit an important one). They might have disappointed themselves and thousands of fans. They certainly put a black mark on their perfect record, having not lost a game since the 2011 bowl matchup against Florida State.

But they’re far from losers.

According to Forbes, just being in a BCS bowl game this season earns ND $6.2 million!

And ESPN statistics show the Irish graduate 97 percent of its football players, while the Tide’s graduation rate is 75 percent.

This football team, by any measurement, is special. They attend Mass on game days (and have since the 1920s or thereabouts). There’s a team prayer in the locker room before games. There’s genuine heart for helping others.

Eventually, the pain of not winning this one game will ease. Eventually, the Irish Nation will move forward, looking to a new season with hope and optimism. Eventually, this group of seniors will graduate, and many will move on to NFL or other professional careers.

But today, Irish eyes sure aren’t smiling.


26 thoughts on “Irish Lose to ‘Bama

    • The death of your hopes can feel like the death of a good friend. Rather than wallowing in sadness, we’ll have to pick ourselves up and try harder next year. Thanks for sympathizing!

        • My Rebels won their bowl game against Pitt on Jan. 5, so I’m actually happy about that! Just feeling a bit sad for Domer and his friends. I thought you were a Terp??

        • I am a Terp, and that is a good thing, but I was almost a Tiger, and I think that might have been better. This is one of many posts that has still gone unwritten. Today I am feeling in full-disclosure mode, so maybe it will happen.

  1. I thought of you this morning when I heard the score. Ah, well. Winners and losers is the way of life – at least when it comes to competitions like football. I’ll bet your son still has some great stories to tell when he gets home!

    • I’m expecting him home this evening, and I’m looking forward to his “take” on the game. My Rebels lost to ‘Bama earlier in the season, so I know how GOOD they are. I thought I’d warned the Domer, but he obviously wasn’t listening!

  2. Ahhh, but I was thinking as I watched the game, they should still be smiling, because as you pointed out, just to make it to a championship game is such an accomplishment. I’m sure those players don’t feel that way this morning – but what an honor.

    • It is an honor, Barb, but I think they were hoping for a stronger showing. Everybody kept predicting ‘Bama would win by 10 points but it would be a low-scoring game, thanks to a tough Irish defense. Sadly, ‘Bama jumped to a 14-0 lead before the first quarter was over! I’ve watched all the Irish games this year, and this truly was the worst they’ve played. Oh, well, onward to next year!

  3. Ouch. This one hurt. So sorry. Hope your favorite Domer was proud of how the band played and enjoyed the trip. When you are from Chicago there is only one thing left to say, “There is always next year.”

    • Those of us who are Cubs fans know well the “There’s always next year” feeling! Yes, this one did hurt. Expectations were running high, but they were dashed in the first 15 minutes. After that, it was all downhill. Thanks for empathizing!

    • I know you can empathize, Oma, seeing as how the Pack lost their bowl game, too. It probably looked to you like they never quit, but I kind of thought they quit after they noticed ‘Bama leading 21-0 in the first quarter!! But now we can turn our attention to basketball, where both the men and the ladies are doing pretty well!

  4. I love that song, When Irish Eyes are Smiling. I always think of Pat O’Brien and James Cagney, great actors who made excellent movies way back when, and their eyes sure did twinkle. Notice I’m focusing on the Irish aspect of your post and not the football, as when it comes to football, I’m not that into it. Though I did go to a few Charger games with my son a couple of years ago. Didn’t understand what was going on but I sure did enjoy spending time with him. Anyway, sounds like the results of the game you describe have you down. So, I’m very sorry. Chin up, as they say. 😉

  5. I didn’t watch the game (sorry, I don’t watch football by choice :)) but when I heard the score yesterday, I thought of you. I don’t know which is worse – a complete blowout like this, or losing by a point in the final seconds. I take it back, I think losing in the final seconds would sting more. Perhaps next year, the Irish will be fighting again!

    • You’ve posed an interesting problem — whether it hurts more to lose BIG or by just a point or two. I can easily see both hurting, but the outcome, of course, is the same — it’s a loss! And it would have been nice, in Domer’s senior year, to go out with a win. Sigh….

    • I suppose the whole nation heard about it, Kathy — yikes! Talk about letting everybody watch you fail! And they certainly did fail, for I hadn’t seen them play anywhere near that bad all year! Thanks for sympathizing.

  6. Debbie, thanks for reminding all of us sports fans that the real records are measured behind the scenes in the classroom and careers. The opportunity to play in a big bowl game is a winning experience no matter what the final score. It is understandable to feel disappointed in defeat, but also imperative to remember we are more than the games we play.

    • Well said, Pat!! And it’s even more impressive, since you’ve “been there, done that”! I like the ad they show on games, pointing out that most D-1 athletes will go pro in something other than sports. So, while the “agony of defeat” is very real right now, in time it will be just one more rung on the ladder. Thanks for putting it into perspective!

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