Sep 9, 2010
It’s Skunkbear season at Notre Dame.
In the second week of our 2010 campaign, our historical
rivals enemies, the Skunkbears of Michigan, will venture to Notre Dame Staidum to continue a series that began 123 years ago. While our football program can boast a history of just as many years that includes 838 wins and a .732 winning percentage (#3 and #2 all-time in college football), Michigan is the only program that surpasses ours in both categories (#1 all-time in both). What makes our series against the Skunkbears even more compelling is the fact that we owe them all of our success on the gridiron and almost all of our accomplishments as a University. They brought the game of football to Notre Dame in 1887, thinking nothing at the time of the opportunity they had just presented to our small, independent, working-class Catholic school. Little did they know that our team, the very team they brought into being, would eventually rise to become the most decorated program in the history of college football. Little did they know that football would put us on the map as the nation's preeminent Catholic university.
After exploiting our inexperience during the first eight games they played against us, the Skunkbears slowly recognized that we were beginning to gain strength and grow beyond their control. In true Skunkbear fashion, they accordingly made several attempts to pull the plug on Notre Dame football. They blacklisted us in order to prevent us from joining a conference (thanks for our independence and NBC contract, by the way). They refused to play us, hoping we would soon fade away and they could have their game back.
As Providence would have it, though, events overseas would change the face of the world, America, and college football forever. The Great Famine in Ireland sent millions of Fighting Irishmen to our shores as they sought new opportunities in a new world. For those Irish Catholics who ventured to the Midwest, Notre Dame symbolized the pinnacle of the American Dream.
For countless families fighting to survive and prosper in their new “home,” where signs boldly stating “No Irish Need Apply” frequented storefronts in every city, Our Lady atop the Golden Dome truly was the golden standard. The mentality of these Fighting Irishmen, along with subsequent waves of hard-working immigrants from around the globe, brought a mentality to Notre Dame that would define us as a university. As the Skunkbears sat idly by, unwilling to take up the challenge and face Notre Dame under the excuse of a “boycott,” we used that mentality to fight our way to the top of the college football world.
Once we had proven ourselves as the true kings of college football, the Skunkbears had no choice but to get over their jealousy and renew the series that began so many years before. No love was lost, however, and plenty fierce battles between the two juggernaut programs have been recorded in the annals of sports history.
In the most recent chapter, the Skunkbears narrowly escaped our wrath during a last-second comeback at the Big House. This year, a new chapter will be written...
It is up to us, the coaches, players, students, alumni, and fans, to recognize the significance of the game at hand and do our part to ensure this latest chapter is written properly. We must be prepared to uphold our tradition of excellence, and we must show no mercy to the program that has hated us for so long.
As the Skunkbears step timidly onto the hallowed ground inside Notre Dame Stadium this Saturday, let us remind them that we are the Fighting Irish, and we will protect our house like we did last time they attempted to enter it in 2008.
As fans of the greatest college football team of all time, we can fulfill our duty this week by: wearing GREEN, arriving early, getting LOUD, and teaching the Skunkbears a history lesson they will never forget.