Three days and counting until the Irish faceoff for the national championship, and for the players and coaches making it to the title game came at a bit of a surprise this year.
Many people were pointing to 2013 as the year of the Irish comeback, but the 2012 team seems to be ahead of schedule. Over the course of the three-month season the odds for a slip-up were pretty high, but the Irish executed their twelve games perfectly.
Notre Dame’s Coach Brian Kelly is on his way to becoming the fifth coach in the program’s history to lead the Irish to a national championship in just his third season.
But did Brian Kelly think he could get the team here this quickly?
“I didn't think there was anything there that said we couldn't do it,” said Coach Kelly.
Kelly says he thinks in terms of what impediments the team has to overcome.
"You come here because you want to play for a national championship. There was nothing that I saw other than practicing and playing their game the right way, and developing our talent--that was the only element, and that was just a matter of time.”
It is a lot harder to turn a program around in this day and age than it was when Notre Dame was in its prime under coaches like Leahy. But, if Kelly can pull of the win on Monday he gets a statue outside the stadium, and a gate named after him at the Notre Dame Stadium.