Notre Dame football: Irish show heart and grit on Senior Day

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

It was Senior Day for Notre Dame football against Boston College, and the Irish played determined, gritty football to raise their record to 9-2.

826. 40. 819. Final. 7

It doesn’t matter if you call it the “Holy War” or the “Battle of the Catholics”, there wasn’t much of a war or battle by the time the final gun sounded on Notre Dame football Senior Day against Boston College.

Early on in this game, you could practically feel the pained groans of Notre Dame football fans as they watched the Irish move between the 20s, only to see the Eagles stiffen up and hold Notre Dame to field goals.

When Boston College successfully executed a couple of chunk plays to get into the end zone and make the score 7-6, favor BC, the concern inside Notre Dame stadium flipped out outright worry.

But after that touchdown, everything that wasn’t working for the Notre Dame offense was working doubly-well for the Irish defense. The Irish came back to score a touchdown of their own, and then the defense put the clamps on Dennis Grosel and the Eagles.

The next 10 Boston College possessions never got beyond six plays, with four of them ending with 3-and-outs for the Eagles. It doesn’t matter how good your defense is. If your offense is consistently giving up the ball that quickly, your defense is going to be gassed.

And gassed the Eagles defense became.

The Notre Dame defense opened the door for Ian Book and Tony Jones Jr. to do their thing and start piling on the yards and points. Once the dam was busted, it was all over.

So now with a 9-2 record and a shot at a ten-win season with a win over struggling Stanford, where do the Irish find themselves in the postseason bowl picture?

The prevailing thought among those who follow the Fighting Irish is a berth in the Camping World Bowl (or as us old-timers know it, the Blockbuster Bowl). However, it is possible the Irish could land in a more prestigious bowl with a little help from some other teams.

Notre Dame’s two losses are a close one on the road to No. 4 Georgia, and an embarrassing blowout to No. 13 Michigan in The Big House. Both the Bulldogs and Wolverines have continued to win, which makes both losses a little more tolerable for the bowl selection folks.

Notre Dame can take an ACC bowl spot, but they must be within one overall win over any available ACC team with the best overall record. So, without a shot at the College Football Playoff, that leaves these possible bowl landing spots for the Irish:

  • Camping World Bowl vs. Big 12
  • Citrus Bowl vs. SEC or Big Ten
  • Belk Bowl vs. SEC
  • Hyundai Sun Bowl vs. Pac-12
  • New Era Pinstripe Bowl vs. Big Ten
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl vs. SEC
  • TaxSlayer Bowl vs. SEC

The best ACC records right now belong to Clemson (11-0) — who is certain to be a College Football Playoff team — Virginia (8-3), Virginia Tech (8-3), and Louisville (7-4). So with 10 wins, Notre Dame looks to be a game or more better than any of those teams.

The interesting scenario for the Irish would be if Georgia beats LSU in the SEC Championship Game, and both teams end up getting into the College Football Playoff. That could open up the door for Notre Dame to possibly (keyword, possibly) get an invitation to the Orange Bowl, where they’d be matched up with Alabama (if not in the Sugar Bowl) or the Big 12 winner who was left out of the playoff picture – either Oklahoma or Baylor.

A berth in a New Year’s Six Bowl would be somewhat of a lift to Notre Dame fans who were hoping for another trip to the College Football Playoff. An appearance in the Camping World or Citrus Bowl might amp up the fan grumbling just a bit.

Imagine grumbling about a 10-win season?

Next. 50 best college football uniforms. dark

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.