1963 was a good year, unless you were a Kennedy (too soon?). Texas was on its way to its first national championship under DKR, Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech, and, most importantly, the NHL held its first draft in Montreal. 1963 was also the last time Navy beat Notre Dame. It has been 44 years since Navy last beat Notre Dame. As one of our Naval Academy-grad co-workers recently quipped, if Navy does not beat Notre Dame this season then it never will. Notre Dame is 1-7, Navy is 4-4.
Not necessarily football-related reasons to like Navy: Notre Dame gives up an average of 190+ yards per game on the ground. Navy averages 340+ yards per game on the ground. Notre Dame averages UNDER 200 yards a game of total offense. Our 'C' league IM flag football team ran a slightly more powerful offense in 2003, despite lacking the guidance of an offensive genius like Charlie Weis. Moreover, we recognize that it's become almost cliche to say how much you respect the service academies. But we legitimately respect the hell out of the Naval Academy Midshipmen for what they are doing with their lives (apparently unlike Rutgers fans). For some reason we don't feel the same way about Jimmy Claussen.
Not necessarily football-related reasons to like Notre Dame: We can't do it. Just can't. Go Navy! (in the interest of full disclosure: one of us currently works for the Unites States Navy. So we really mean it. We can't do it. Wouldn't be prudent. Not at this juncture.)
Why Texas Fans Should Care: Here's a scenario for you: Reggie Bush doesn't push Matt Leinart into the end zone in 2005 against Notre Dame. Notre Dame finishes the season with only one regular season loss. Notre Dame beats out Penn State for the #2 spot in the BCS. Texas beats the crap out of Notre Dame with Vince Young as a very nice but unremarkable championship game. It's a scary thought.
You may be asking: what?!?! What the hell does that have to do with this game in particular? You should stop asking that question. It's an Un-American question.
The Battle of the YouTubes:
The Muppets are pulling for the Midshipmen:
Real Men of Genius in South Bend: