It was the first loss of the season for the Fighting Irish. They went 12-0 in 2012, and entered the contest as the top ranked team in the nation.
Despite the loss, the season was a major success for Notre Dame. It was the school’s first undefeated regular season since 1988, and their best finish to a year since 1993.
The Irish exceed expectations in 2012. They were not expected to compete for the national title, and narrowly avoided a few losses. The question remains whether or not the team will be able to have a repeat performance in 2013, and make another bid to win the championship.
If Notre Dame is going to have a similar season next fall, they’re going to have to do so without their best player. Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te’o will enter the NFL Draft in April, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the team’s defense. The linebacker recorded seven interceptions and 5.5 tackles for a loss this past year.
Tyler Eifert and Theo Riddick have also played their last games for Notre Dame. Eifert was a key part of the team’s offense in the last two years, totaling, 107 catches, 1,427 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Riddick led the club with 917 rushing yards this season.
While the Irish will be losing a significant amount of talent, the improvement of returning players will help make up for the biggest losses. Head coach Brian Kelly will not look to test himself in the pros, and will play a big role in the further development of some of Notre Dame’s biggest stars.
Everett Golson should be much improved after having a full season of being a starter under his belt. The quarterback showed the ability to be very dangerous when using his legs, and is expected to be more of a playmaker next season. Left tackle Zack Martin said in December that he would return for his senior season, and should be able to provide some protection for the signal caller.
It’s often difficult for freshmen to have a major impact in college football, but Notre Dame should have a few that make a difference in 2013. According to Rivals.com, the Fighting Irish have the top recruiting class, thus far, heading into next season.
Alabama’s victory proved that they were the best team in college football for the 2012 season. However, the blowout loss doesn’t negate what Notre Dame did over the first twelve games. With one of the best coaches in college football, an improving quarterback and highly touted recruits, the Irish should be a dangerous team in 2013.Notre