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updated: 11/20/2012 11:59 AM

Notre Dame's return silences ghosts of past

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  • Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, right, meets with Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe following Saturday's 38-0 win by the Fighting Irish.

    Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, right, meets with Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe following Saturday's 38-0 win by the Fighting Irish.
    Associated Press


Well here we go -- cheer, cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame. The Irish are at the top of the college football world, and Brian Kelly has, for the time being, overcome the ghosts that have hovered over the program for almost two decades.

They are a victory away from being in the BCS title game. It doesn't matter what happens to the teams ranked behind them. With Southern Cal's top quarterback Matt Barkley wounded, and the USC Trojans reeling from a bad loss to UCLA, the Irish have everything set up for them.

No one can guarantee the outcome, however, especially the experts who had Kansas State playing Oregon in the big game.

NFL material?

How quickly things change, and the train carrying Chip Kelly to the NFL as a head coach came to an abrupt halt when his Oregon team lost.

Oregon's Kelly is the West Coast version of Steve Spurrier. It was fourth and 2, with the game tied 0-0 in the first quarter against Stanford, when Kelly, who has been lofted to the status of a god-like figure in Oregon, went for it when he should have gone for the 3 points. They didn't make it, and that set the tone and now Oregon is out of the picture.

Kelly should stay in Oregon. Why leave a great situation to take a job in the NFL and ultimately fail?

The one guy who might be pro ready, and reminds me of a Jimmy Johnson type on the sideline is Notre Dame's Brian Kelly. If he wins the national championship for Notre Dame, will NFL overtures come his way?

The Waddle game?

I was watching one of my favorite TV shows, "Pro Football Weekly" (yeah, I know I need to get a life) when I head something that really surprised me.

Former NFL wideout Tom Waddle is featured on the show and does a great job on it, as he does on the NFL Network and other shows. Waddle called for a rule that if after a collision or big hit a player has even a slight headache, he automatically should sit out the rest of that game and the next game -- no matter what.

Well, thank God the concussion rule wasn't in place in 1991 when the Chicago Bears played the Dallas Cowboys in what is called the "Waddle Game."

Waddle played one of the best games a receiver can play. In today's game, Waddle would have been pulled after his second or third catch, and history might have been changed.

That game solidified his career on and off the field.

Another puzzling thing to me is Waddle's criticism of Tim Tebow and calling him a bad quarterback.

Remember, Waddle was a player who was cut a couple of times and no one really thought was any good. Waddle knows you can't measure heart. Tebow is a winner, and so is Waddle, but it's amazing how an attitude changes once you take off the spikes and put on the wingtips.


Look for the video version of my Top 10 Thanksgiving tips on or at on Wednesday.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at For more, visit

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