Notre Dame Football: Odd Path to Undefeated Season
What if I told you (fill in the blank)?
It's a phrase that floats around a lot these days. If you are a fan of Brad Meltzer's Decoded, like I am, you get excited every time you hear the phrase. If not, you have surely heard it come from Michael Smith in all of the "30 for 30" promos. Either way, it's a good way to start a story, right? It certainly peaks interest.
Well, this entire column is going to fit that mold. Notre Dame, unbelievably, finished 12-0 this season. Even the most optimistic projections had them winning nine games. I have to be grouped into the gobs of media underrating them, picking them to win a mere eight games.
How did they get here? Behind a world-class defense, smart football and possibly, the magic of the Year 3 Rule. However, to me the bigger story is what didn't happen; the numbers that weren't put up and the expectations that we thought needed to happen.. that didn't.
Jump in a Delorean and send yourself back to August. Imagine me sitting in a room with you, telling you the future of the 2012 Notre Dame season...
What if I told you.. Everett Golson will finish with less than 2,500 total yards?
What if I told you.. Tommy Ress will finish with less than 450 total yards?
What if I told you.. Andrew Hendrix will finish with less than 100 total yards?
What if I told you.. Cierre Wood won't crack 750 rushing yards?
What if I told you.. Cierre Wood will only score four touchdowns?
What if I told you.. the Irish won't have one receiver with 45 receptions?
What if I told you.. the leading receiver will only have 624 yards?
What if I told you.. the trio of freshmen receivers will finish with three catches.. total?
What if I told you.. Kyle Brindza will miss eight field goals.. including four from less than 40 yards?
What if I told you.. Notre Dame will only average 22 points per game in South Bend?
What if I told you.. Everett Golson will be pulled from multiple games?
What if I told you.. the Irish won't have a 2,500 yard passer?
What if I told you.. the Irish won't have a 1,000 yard rusher?
What if I told you.. No Irish runner will score more than five touchdowns?
What if I told you.. No Irish receiver will score more than four touchdowns?
What if I told you.. hyped running back George Atkinson III will finish with only 365 yards.. combined?
What if I told you.. Davaris Daniels and Robby Toma will combine for zero receiving touchdowns?
What if I told you.. Landry Jones will throw for over 350 yards on the Irish?
What if I told you.. in that Oklahoma game in Norman, one team will score at least 30, while the other only manages 13, losing the turnover battle?
What if I told you.. the Irish will be -3 in turnovers against Pitt while rotating quaraterbacks?
What if I told you.. in the Michigan game, one of the teams will commit six turnovers while outgaining the other team, leading to a loss?
What if I told you.. going into LA the final weekend, one of the teams will be undefeated and playing for a spot in the national championship, while the other will be a disappointing, unranked 7-4?
What if I told you.. one of the teams in the USC matchup, will be held to 13 points, due in large part to redzone failures?
What if I told you.. Lou Holtz's prediction of 11-1, will not come true?
What if I told you.. Notre Dame will finish 12-0?