Notre Dame had its best season in 24 years in 2012. That season doesn't seem like it only ended about six months ago.
The Irish got embarrassed in the Discover BCS National Championship Game against Alabama back on January 7,. For Notre Dame, the blowout loss was already horrible enough. All they could do at that time was reflect back on a 12-0 season and realize they would learn from their loss.
Less than two weeks after Te'o's worst game of the season, the Deadspin article was released showing that his dead girlfriend was a fake, leaving many to wonder how naive, clever or just how stupid he was. The media storm that descended upon South Bend blazed its way through and went away after a while and an interview with Katie Couric included.
Spring practice could not have come any sooner for Brian Kelly and his team. The Blue-Gold game seemed to be a sign that things could return to normal at Notre Dame. When Kelly let defensive lineman Louis Nix quarterback the blue team and ran a draw into the endzone for a two-point conversion, it was a fun moment where even Brian Kelly, a man who most of the time is shown on camera barking at his players on the sideline, had his hands in the air and a big smile on his face.
That good feeling lasted a little over a month.
Over the holiday weekend, everyone found out Everett Golson, the quarterback that Brian Kelly has been hoping for since his arrival at Notre Dame, was suspended for the fall term for an academic violation. So much for that long-term plan Irish fans saw.
Golson could come back in 2014, but a return to the national championship game will be harder. Tommy Rees will be option number one.
Rees has had his ups and downs in his time at Notre Dame. Off the field incidents and having to take a backseat to Golson in 2012 could've shaken Rees' confidence and frustrated him last year. But a young quarterback will falter, and that is what Golson did. Like a closing pitcher in baseball, Rees came to rescue against Purdue and Stanford, leading his team on game winning drives.
For the private, Catholic university in northwest Indiana with a football obsession, Notre Dame and it's droves of alumni and those fans who visit and walk the campus as if they went there (subway alumni, domers) had a restored sense of pride. Pulling the old #1 sign out of storage after beating Wake Forest and then seeing Oregon and Kansas State fall hours after the game seemed to be the icing on the cake.
Like all good things, they must come to an end. For Notre Dame, the good times were brought to a halt in South Beach. With the off the field stories in the offseason, some fans are not feeling the luck of the Irish. A one year wonder followed by another two decades of disappointment and other "so close" moments is too much for some Domers to handle.
But like all tough times, they pass. The sun will hopefully come out in South Bend on the day of Notre Dame's opener, and will reflect off those gold helmets as the Irish play Temple. Regardless of who is starting behind center, life goes on. Like the spring game, getting on the field and playing provides an escape from everything off of it.