Let's take a journey inside the exhilarated but anxious mind of a Notre Dame football fan right now. What happened Saturday in South Bend was pleasant but also a little melancholy. The Fighting Irish thumped Wake Forest 38-0, improving their record to a stunning 11-0 before their regular-season finale next weekend against rival USC. Notre Dame was good but looked to be in a jam. Despite the win, they appeared destined to stay locked at No. 3 in the BCS standings, behind shiny Oregon and Kansas State, where they'd wind up getting locked out of the national championship.
It was a thrilling, surprising Irish run. But also a tiny bit of a bummer, you know? Time was running out. The most storied college program in the sport had a real shot at going undefeated, only to get brushed aside as a third wheel. If the BCS title game didn't happen, there was talk about Notre Dame playing in the Rose Bowl against Nebraska. Also nice. But also kind of meh.
Then, in a staggering Saturday-night twist, Kansas State lost to Baylor. Then Oregon lost to Stanford.