Stanford-Notre Dame not the big game expected in preseason

In this Sept. 17, 2016, file photo, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly signals from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan State in South Bend, Ind.

The Associated Press

I’m going to forgo the weekly preview for something a little different.

Plus, at this point, we all know how this is going to end. And I don’t just mean Saturday’s game against Stanford. I mean the season. I mean every season until the end of time. 

So here’s my preview...Unless Christian McCaffrey is kept out of the game, which remains a possibility, he’ll rack up 400 yards of total offense and Notre Dame’s defense and coaches will spend a lot of the game with their arms in the arm saying things like “What happened?” and “I thought you had him.”

This season has been a steady descent into madness. 

I’ve been rooting for Notre Dame since I can remember. Growing up Irish Catholic on the South Side of Chicago, I had little choice.

My dad rooted for the Irish. So did my brother, uncles and cousins.

This was my fate.

And for a time things were pretty good.

I was 7 when they won the national championship in 1988. They had some great seasons after that.

Then slightly less great seasons followed. Then coach Lou Holtz left. Then Bob Davie and Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis.

Brian Kelly has provided some good times. 2012 was fun until Alabama decided to beat the Irish like they owed them money.

Last season had its moments as well.

But a man can only take so much.

As a sidewalk alum I have no real connection to the university.

So like a 5-star recruit waiting on a gym bag overflowing with unmakred, non-sequential 100 dollar bills, I chose to open up my fandom.

My criteria for a new team was simple: Power 5 school with a history of success, recent success and not a rival of Notre Dame.

I went through the ACC, I’m not rooting for cartoon villain Bobby Petrino or Louisville. He makes Brian Kelly look like Tom Hanks.

The Big 12 is easily the most overrated Power 5 conference and I have no interest watching Texas Tech and Baylor battle to 62-58 finishes. 

SEC yielded few options. As did the Pac-12.

I finally got to the Big Ten. Here I thought teams made sense. My top two choices were Wisconsin and Ohio State.

I recently tried watching both play and realized that I couldn’t manufacture emotions about teams I’ve spent my whole life not caring about.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m stuck with Notre Dame.

I’m doomed to spend my life in college football purgatory.

I will spend offseasons trying to rationalize 10-win seasons only to watch the Irish lose to middling ACC teams and the occasional service academy.

I must put up with sports talk radio hot takers and callers who enjoy little else than to bash Notre Dame.

I’ll have to sit through montages on TV of Notre Dame’s past glory, cheering for ghosts. 

I’m relegated to a life of going to games and being surrounded by middle-aged fans and alums, with their cigar smoke obnoxiously wafting through the air, intermingling with the Jimmy Buffett blaring from their Mercedes S-Class.

Having said all that, if Notre Dame does beat Stanford I think they can win out and still nab a New Year's Day bowl.

So there's that.

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