Ang in South Florida: Irish mindset heading to Sunshine State

Irish fans are hoping the new year will start as well as 2012 ended.

Notre Dame departs for South Florida on Wednesday in anticipation of the national championship game Monday night in Miami against Alabama.

Angelo Di Carlo is already in South Florida and examines the team's mentality as they arrive in the Sunshine State.

By random selection of the BCS Committee, Notre Dame is staying in Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami, and that's probably something Irish coach Brian Kelly is happy about. He's not looking for distractions. For Kelly, he's taking a different approach than he usually does in these situations--because this is a much different situation.

"I've always felt in bowl games you let your guys go down and on the first night or two you let them get out there and have a little fun and reward them for the bowl game," Kelly explains.

That's not the case this time.

"I don't know if I had a 2 a.m. curfew or something like that. You know, we're 11 o'clock. This is not a bowl game, you know what I mean, you're playing for the national championship."

The Irish players don't seem to mind the early curfew.

"We are not going down to Miami to party and go out or something," says linebacker Dan Fox. "We are going down there to win the game. It's not regular bowl game at all."

"It's a business trip for us--this isn't just another bowl game like in years past," adds linebacker Danny Spond. "This is a national championship game. More riding on this than obviously any game of the year, and this will make or break our season. This will go from having people say it was a good team to a great team. We want to be remembered and have that 2013 sign hanging up in the tunnel."

Irish standout Manti Te'o is ready too.

"When you step on this campus you can't miss the tradition," explains the Heisman runner-up. "Just that feel of Notre Dame it's something that you can't miss and it's something that I've felt every single year that I've been here. "For me to go out and end my career here playing in the National Championship, it's a dream come true."

Alabama will also arrive on Wednesday in South Florida. They will stay in Miami.

NewsCenter 16 will bring you reports on the BCS National Championship game in every newscast through the big game. Our coverage from Miami will be highlights by two one hour specials on Sunday and Monday, each airing at 7pm.

Jeff Jeffers, Angelo Di Carlo and Gabby Gonzalez will lead the coverage from Miami with Maureen McFadden, Chuck Freeby, Barbara Harrington, Kevin Lewis and Tricia Sloma bringing you the sights and sounds from South Bend.

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