So it's the morning after the Great Wildcat Heist, and where do you start? What's the opening line here?
I think I know.
Outlined against a darkening November sky, the Dot.Com/Chicken Sandwich/Lawn Implement Bowl rode again ...
Outlined against a darkening November sky, Mathematics 101 rode again ...
Outlined against a darkening November sky, Touchdown Jesus covered his eyes, shook his head and said, "For cryin' out loud, Kelly, just kick the extra point!"
This is the "L" that shouldn't have been for Notre Dame, a meme that's become as much a lock in South Bend as sneak-attack snowstorms. Every year -- you can make book on it -- the Irish are going to lose one they shouldn't. The fun parlor game is trying to identify which one it is.
This year's entry is Northwestern, which was down 11 and looked finished when Notre Dame blocked a field goal with 8:43 to play.
But the Irish, whose charity this season has been legendary, kept generously giving the Wildcats chances, turning it over four times including twice inside the 5-yard line. Head coach Brian Kelly, whose college major must not have been math, helped things along by unaccountably attempting a failed 2-point conversion on Notre Dame's last score when a PAT would have been sufficient. And Northwestern scored 11 points in the last five minutes to send it to overtime, then won it on a field goal.
And so the Irish go from playoff contender to an aforementioned DotCom/Chicken Sandwich/Lawn Implement berth. And with a trip to USC still ahead, they're suddenly looking squarely at an 8-4 season, which is what so many predicted for them (at best) back in August.
A month ago, they looked like a football team that could play with anyone in the country. Now, even with a win at USC, they'll finish 9-3 with a resume whose signature moment was a loss at Florida State. And it'll back to the drawing board again for Kelly and his staff.
Presumably, the first thing they write on it will be "2 + 2 = 4."