Monday, November 05, 2007


More Mid-dlin' Than Fair

I was remiss in neglecting to applaud this weekend's great accomplishment of the state-sponsored school across the street from my alma mater. Fortunately, The Washington Post's John Feinstein takes care of it:
Some will see the score, shrug their shoulders and note that the Fighting Irish reached a nadir in dropping to 1-8 on the season while seeing their 43-game winning streak against Navy -- the longest in the history of college football -- come to an end.
In doing so, they will entirely miss the point.

There is simply no way that any Navy team should beat any Notre Dame team at this point in time. Notre Dame -- even a 1-8 Notre Dame team -- is always going to have athletes who are bigger, stronger and faster than Navy's. Notre Dame is one of the glamour teams in college football, even in a bad year. It has more tradition than anybody; more money than anybody; its own network television contract and more blue-chip recruits than anybody.

Navy beat Notre Dame with a 5-foot-9, 195-pound linebacker making a key sack in the fourth quarter. It won with a 5-6, 168-pound slotback producing the eight points that won the game in the third overtime.

It won with a team that -- physically -- had no chance to win, but won because a huge heart can overcome a lot of things, and you can't play football at Navy (or Army or Air Force) for any extended period of time without a huge heart.

The Midshipmen have all the things Dorothy's friends wished for: brains, heart and courage. On Saturday, that was enough. It was even enough to -- once again -- overcome an officiating crew that played the role of Notre Dame's 12th man.
The U.S. Naval Academy is St. John's College's great rival in the gentle sport of croquet -- and the Johnnies have had our way with the Midshipmen in about 21 of the 24 annual tournaments. But even that domination paled in comparison to that of Notre Dame over the Academy in football.

That 43-year streak ended this past Saturday -- in triple overtime. Good for the Midshipmen. Good for Annapolis!

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