With a 22-13 win against USC on Saturday, the Fighting Irish are back in the BCS championship game for the first time in 24 years. And like they have shown all season long, their defense is what secured the victory to earn a spot in the title game.
The late goal line stand by this stellar defense easily summed up the season for the Irish. Amidst quarterback controversy early in the season, the defense was consistently strong. Led by Heisman hopeful Manti Te'o, the unit only allowed 10.3 points per game.
Now Notre Dame will likely take on the SEC champion (Alabama or Georgia) on January 7, 2013. Even for Irish haters, it is hard to argue how their appearance in the final doesn't improve college football's image. Known as one of the elite programs with 11 consensus national championships, having them back in the spotlight should increase the popularity of college football. And maybe more importantly, an Irish win would end a 6 year SEC winning streak.
So do they have what it takes to win it all? Well, they do say that "defense wins championships", and Notre Dame has one of the best in the nation up to this point. But will the offense score enough against another impressive defense, whether it be Alabama or Georgia? With Theo Reddick, Cierre Wood, Everett Golson, and a solid receiving core, it's certainly possible.
But maybe the defense is impressive enough. Being the main reason they got to this point, should we expect anything different from the Fighting Irish come January 7 in Miami?