Irish football coach Brian Kelly is enjoying the ride.
"To see their faces, the enjoyment they have after winning their last home game and being undefeated and seeing Manti come off the field and Kap and seeing the enjoyment that they had playing for Notre Dame, that's what makes it all worth it," Kelly told WNDU Sports Director Jeff Jeffers in a 1-on-1 conversation for NewsCenter 16's Countdown to Kickoff show on Saturday.
Notre Dame is the #1 team in the land for the first time since 1993 but Brian Kelly isn't focused on that and either are his players.
"For our guys, the focus is--they want to beat USC," Kelly said.
The Irish will play the Trojans Saturday at 8pm in Los Angeles.
"Yeah, they want to go 12-0," Kelly explained. "But if you ask them about all the other things that go with that, they want to beat USC first. Just to focus on USC and that win and everything else falls into place."
A victory sends Notre Dame to the national championship game on January 7th in Miami. The Irish have gotten here through a path no one saw coming.
"Each and every week, the same message and the consistency of the approach," Kelly said of how his guys got here. "We sometimes have a phrase that they are like hunting dogs and you just let them go--and they are going to do it because of instinct. Our guys now instinctively know what is next for them and that was a good thing to here."
You can here more from Jeff's 1-on-1 conversation with Brian Kelly on a special edition of "Countdown to Kickoff" live from Los Angeles Saturday at 7:30 on Channel 16.