Oct 14, 2012, 12:22 AM EDT
This day was spectacular. It was a classic. Today is the kind that makes you look back and say wistfully, “Those were the days.” Isn’t that a strange thought? Right now, we are in the middle of living “the days.” How many times in your life have you been consciously aware of living in a spectacular moment?
The greatness of today comes in two parts: College GameDay and Beating Stanford. GameDay may have been eclipsed by the magic of our actual game day, but it was something special in and of itself.
It’s easy to ask, what’s the big deal with College GameDay? A crowd of people stands out in an open area for several hours to yell on cue and strain to hear the words of a broadcast they could much more easily watch from the (dis)comfort of their futon. Why all the hype?
The funny this is, the hype is the hype. Four weeks ago, when we beat Michigan State, GameDay commentator Kirk Herbstreit made the comment that this Notre Dame team is “relevant.” We took that phrase and ran with it. “Relevancy” has become the mantra of this team, this student body, and this season.
Here we are, four weeks later, and now Herbstreit came here. He came here, along with Lee Corso and Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard and entire crew of people from ESPN. College GameDay does not come to your campus unless your campus is the place to be. Notre Dame took that little comment of “relevant” and exploded it into a presence that demands the attention of college football. College GameDay deserved the hype from us because we earned the hype from them. We made a big deal about it because its very existence on our campus proved we are a big deal.
Although College GameDay is a media broadcast, its members of the media have made themselves famous. On Friday, I waited with members of South Bend local media to meet and interview the GameDay crew. Media interviewing media. Campus got excited over the nearness of these semi-stars.
But I’ll tell you, the real stars of College GameDay today were the Notre Dame fans. I was at GameDay last year in Ann Arbor, and my completely biased opinion is that Michigan did not have one-tenth the authority that we had today. As I stood in the staging area of the set—maybe ten yards from Corso and Herbstreit—I could not hear a single thing above the roar of the crowd. It seemed like the commentators could barely hear each other. Our crowd sang, chanted, cheered, yelled, and waved signs during every moment of the broadcast—not just when we were on screen.
When the GameDay crew started talking about how good Stanford’s offense is, the crowd started chanting “Manti Te’o” in response. The noise was deafening. Nothing about the brilliance of Stanford’s offense could be heard over the wall of sound coming from the Notre Dame fans.
Manti Te’o. Manti Te’o. Manti Te’o.
I was grinning involuntarily. I probably looked like an insane person. And in the middle of that chant, Herbstreit looked up, and I swear he made eye contact with me. Amidst the swell of Notre Dame passion, he smiled too.
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