From the Knute Rockne era to David Anspaugh's classic film Rudy, the Notre Dame football program encompasses one thing: tradition.
While the days of the Fighting Irish winning a national championship at least once a decade have been absent for nearly two-and-a-half decades, Brian Kelly has this 2012 Notre Dame team in prime position to win the prestigious university's first title since 1988.
Kelly and the Fighting Irish are trying to become the first Notre Dame team since that '88 squad to go a perfect 12-0 and bring a national title back to South Bend.
Given its historical nature throughout the college football landscape, Notre Dame being relevant and on top of the standings is good for college football.
Long gone are the Charlie Weiss days, when the Irish would cap off a season of mediocrity by losing a BCS bowl game to thriving programs like Ohio State and LSU.
Back are the days of staunch defense and Heisman candidates, led by Heisman finalist Manti Te'o and a fierce Fighting Irish defense that ranks No. 1 in the nation.
Notre Dame allowed the fewest points per game (10.5), posted the third-best defense against the rush and intercepted 16 passes this season, which should make for a low-scoring national championship game against an Alabama defense that ranks No. 2 in points allowed.
With Notre Dame owning 11 national titles, it shouldn't need to be shouted from the mountain top that the Irish are one of the most prestigious and respected programs in all of college football.
What should be pointed out is its rise back to relevancy, as the Irish will be looking to make it 12 national championships against the Crimson Tide on Jan. 7 in Miami.
If possible, another title would only enhance the already enormous stature of Notre Dame. For a program built on pride and tradition, a national championship this season would have all the Irish fans back on the bandwagon, believing in their team after years of failure and disappointment.
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