[to top of second column]
That should be a mismatch against Notre Dame's No.1-in-the-nation defense, but Kelly isn't taking any chances. He said Monday that his team will prepare for both quarterbacks, which suggests he doesn't trust Kiffin any more than the rest of us. Or maybe he just knows better than the rest of us how tenuous Notre Dame's foothold is. If so, he's not letting on. Both of the teams that were in front of the Irish on the BCS dance card -- Oregon and Kansas State -- stumbled over the weekend and he wasn't shy about Notre Dame being ready to step up.
"Now we don't have to answer questions about style points or politics," he said. "Now we have a chance to play for the national championship this week."
A lack of political clout wasn't what kept the Irish out of the championship mix this long, and the questions about style points seemed reasonable, since the same demands would have been made on any outlier -and after nearly two decades, that's where Notre Dame found itself.
Right now, the Irish are a great story about a coach whose maturity has dovetailed with that of a team. On the defensive side of the ball, senior Manti Te'o has become both the physical and spiritual leader. On the other side, Kelly has handled young quarterback Everett Golson with admirable restraint, giving him just enough leeway to grow into the job week by week.
If it all holds together for just one more week, there will be plenty of time and more attention lavished on Notre Dame's glory days than even the most committed subway alumni can endure. And if so, there will be plenty of time spent waiting for Alabama, or Georgia or Florida to emerge from the other side of the bracket and plenty of time to get used to the sound of all those knees knocking together again.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor