Say it isn't so

<P>Irish fans, I have been struggling to come up with the words today. The loss was bitter, the ramifications huge and the disappointment vast. While Notre Dame fans are searching for the answers why, this Irish team is hurting. I can't add to that pain. </P>

Boston College won the football game. Their coaching staff and their players need to be congratulated because they won this football game. Tyrone Willingham knows they won even though the stat sheet might say different. Nothing matters but winning and the Eagles clearly won.

I want to start by saying thank you to this Notre Dame team and coaches for a fantastic season thus far. You have made the Notre Dame Nation very proud. It was a bad day and many good days will soon follow.

Nothing should take away from the success this team has had this year. This team has fought, scratched and clawed for every bit of success they have received. That effort takes heart and we clearly saw plenty of heart yesterday. We clearly saw a good game plan and it worked most of the game. We witnessed the same passion and never give up attitude we have grown to love about this team. We just didn't see the execution and nobody feels worse about that than this Irish team.

This has already been a fantastic season and every player on the team shares in that. This Irish team can still have a season that nobody predicted. They have already changed opinions and that is probably one of the hardest things anyone can accomplish.

Ty Willingham knows that his team moved the ball on Boston College. He knows that they moved the ball rather easily. He also knows that if they execute, this team can play with anyone. The Notre Dame players will soon see that as well.

Yesterday was a bad day, as bad a day as any I can remember. Everything that could possibly go wrong did. Yet the Irish still had a chance to win the game and that is the best news. Notre Dame can play this poorly and still have the chance to beat Boston College. That is how far this team has come.

I do have to give BC credit. When they needed to stuff the Notre Dame running game, they did. When they needed a first down to ensure the victory, the made it. When they needed a fumble, they surely made it happen. BC deserves a lot of credit because they didn't play well but they won the game. Boston College didn't beat themselves, Notre Dame clearly did. I don't think I will be saying that many times in the future.

One thing needs to be said here and many of you are not going to like it. I know Nebraska fans don't like to admit it either. Boston College is a rival. This is a rival game. Nebraska doesn't like to admit that Colorado is a rival but they clearly are. I will say it again; Boston College is a rival game for Notre Dame. It does not matter what Notre Dame fans or the Notre Dame team thinks. Boston College clearly thinks this is THE game and they come to play every time they play Notre Dame. There is no shame in that on either part. Boston College takes this game very seriously and Notre Dame should as well. Notre Dame fans don't want to admit that Boston College is close to being equal to Notre Dame. If you subscribe to the Ty Willingham philosophy that nothing else matters but the win, they clearly are and have been for a while.

Bigger and better things are ahead for this Irish team. We will get a good look at the future of Notre Dame football now. It's easier to keep a team up when they have success. It's much harder for them to believe after a crushing loss like this. I am betting on Tyrone and he will have the boys ready to play the next three games. No matter what happens in the next three games, this has been a great season. Tyrone, his staff and these players have already done something many teams in the past have not been able to do. They restored pride and respect back into Notre Dame football.

It's time for everything Notre Dame to admit that this is a rival game. I think that is the only way we will ever get our turf back.


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