There are only two Catholic schools in Division one, excuse me, the Football Bowl Subdivision, and since 1975 they've met every season to see which team God loves more. Well, I don't know what the Fighting Irish have done lately, but if Saturday night's game in Boston is any indication, they better start saying some Hail Marys.
The Eagles won their fifth straight in the series, this time with a 17-0 shutout, though it was more Notre Dame playing horrible football than Boston College outplaying the Irish. Seriously, listen to these numbers for a moment.
The Eagles only had 13 first downs in the game, went 3-for-14 on third down conversions, completed 41% of their passes for 79 yards, but did manage four yards a carry on 41 rushes. Still, on the whole the Eagles were outgained by the Irish 290-245, so how did they manage to shutout the Irish?
Well, Notre Dame decide to play like a high school junior varsity squad. The Irish turned the ball over five times -- BC didn't have any -- thanks to four interceptions by Jimmy Clausen. One of Clausen's interceptions was returned 70 yards by Paul Anderson -- one of two picks on the night for Anderson -- for a touchdown when the Irish offense proved to be just as bad at tackling as they were at scoring on Saturday night. The fifth turnover was a muffed punt return by Golden Tate that led to BC's only offensive touchdown of the game, and put things out of reach at 17-0.
The Irish have now lost two straight, and three of their last four, to fall to 5-4 after starting the season 4-1. With three games left, one of which is against Syracuse, I don't doubt that the Irish will pick up their sixth win and become bowl eligible -- though I do question the significance of the bowl game.
The truth is, that while the Irish of 2008 are light years ahead of the 2007 team, they still have a long way to go in South Bend if they ever plan on becoming a national powerhouse again. Praying to the Almighty couldn't hurt.