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Post-Game Reaction: Only One Number Matters

Nov 11, 2012, 2:29 AM EST

(AP Photo/Winslow Townson) AP

10.

The number of games the Notre Dame football team has won this season. In case you’re not keeping track, ten is also the number of games Notre Dame has played thus far.

Yep, the Fighting Irish are 10-0.

Barring a crazy turn of circumstances, they will be BCS bound. Perhaps to the party in the desert (Fiesta). Perhaps to the “Granddaddy of Them All” (Rose). But maybe, just maybe, Notre Dame will be headed to Miami – to play for the coveted crystal ball and a chance at its twelfth national championship.

With a 21-6 win at Boston College on Saturday night, the Fighting Irish moved to within two victories of completing an undefeated regular season.

And with “Johnny Football” and the Aggies stunning #1 Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium, down fell a major hurdle standing between Notre Dame and a spot in the BCS title game.

Pretty amazing – especially when you consider how, back in August, some of the “experts” were suggesting 8-4 and a return to Yankee Stadium (Pinstripe Bowl) might be the most likely scenario.

It hasn’t always been pretty. It certainly wasn’t always pretty this evening, in a game many Irish fan wanted to win by 50.

But this Notre Dame team is building its legacy on toughness – on gritty, gut-it-out victories like those against Stanford in October and Pittsburgh just last week.

Though the scoreboard might suggest otherwise, tonight, the Irish were in control from their opening drive.

Everett Golson threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for another, while Prince Shembo tallied three sacks for 26 yards, helping lift the blue & gold to their first 10-0 start since 1993.

Sure, it would have felt good for Notre Dame to cruise to a 50-10 or 41-3 victory, much like it did against Navy and Miami. A blowout win might have earned a few “style points” among voters.

When the BCS standings come out on Sunday evening, the Irish will likely be third, behind only Kansas State and Oregon. They may very well need the Wildcats or Ducks to lose in order to earn a ticket in the title game.

But right now, all Notre Dame needs to focus on is itself, and continuing to win football games. It must get past Wake Forest on Senior Day at Notre Dame Stadium (Nov. 17), and then beat USC the following week in Los Angeles.

Only then can we start thinking about a trip to South Beach.

Until next week, enjoy this.

The Irish are 10-0 for the first time in 19 years. And I’m not sure there’s a student, alum, writer or commentator in America who saw this coming.

(Ok, except for Lou Holtz.)

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