As the leaves change and the weather cools, signalling a switch to fall, only one thing can be on the minds of college football fans: the chase for the National Championship is starting to heat up. For supporters of the University of Notre Dame that chase is very real this season. The Fighting Irish made a statement this past Saturday; they overtook rivals Stanford 38-17 in what was a battle of undefeated top-ten ranked programs.
Going undefeated is of the upmost importance in the college game today as it is really the only way to ensure your program will be included amongst the four teams selected for the National Championship Playoff. If Notre Dame can stay perfect they could have a clear path to one of those coveted spots. An undefeated season would give Notre Dame a resume that boasts victories over ranked opponents Michigan and Stanford, as well as potential wins over notable programs like Virginia Tech, Florida State and USC – a resume that would most assuredly guarantee them a top-four ranking. The road to an undefeated season won’t be easy, but it's a real possibility for the Fighting Irish this year.
Despite 2018 marking the 30th anniversary of their last title-winning squad, the 1988 Fighting Irish, fans of the historic program know very well about undefeated seasons and National Championships. Notre Dame has claimed 11 National Championships (the NCAA recognizes 13 titles) in their history, four of which were under Hall of Fame coach Frank Leahy.
The legendary coach led the program to National Championships in 1943, 1946, 1947, and 1949 and posted six undefeated campaigns, including a 39-game unbeaten streak spanning across five seasons during his career at the school. He also helped coach four Heisman Trophy winners (Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack, Leon Hart, and Johnny Lattner) and was a part of six of Notre Dame’s National Championship winning teams, having won back-to-back titles as a player in 1929 and 1930. Known for a tough, merciless style of play against his opponents and with players, along with a disdain for kicking field goals, Leahy is one of the winningest head coaches in college football history. Referred to by writers as “The Master,” Leahy was elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1970.
This Saturday Notre Dame got one step closer to finally being a National Championship team again; what better way to honour past, present and future teams then by adding this print of the legendary coach to your wall. The shot was snapped during a photo shoot at the University of Notre Dame for the historic SPORT magazine and features head coach Frank Leahy on the sidelines during the Fighting Irish’s undefeated 1949 National Championship season. It's a must have for any fan of Notre Dame and college football.