NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Alvin Hu's bare feet pace back and forth in the dorm hall, the facts and figures tumbling in torrents from his mouth.
"Beat Navy in Ireland, 50-10! Next we beat Purdue, 20-17! Michigan State, 20-3! Michigan, 13-6! Miami, 41-3! Stanford, 20-13 – in overtime! BYU, 17-14! We beat Oklahoma, 30-13! Then Pittsburgh, 29-26 – in three overtimes! Boston College, 21-6! Wake Forest, 38-0! And USC, 22-13!"
As his friends laugh at this display of rapid-fire recall, Alvin finally exhales.
Then he triumphantly declares, "It's over for Alabama!"
Alvin is a Notre Dame senior majoring in Computer Science and Engineering. He also has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism that makes social interaction very difficult. In addition to that awkwardness, he is liable to fixate on certain interests – and right now his primary interest is Fighting Irish football.
There is no separate society for football players here. The biggest stars on campus – the guys who will play Alabama in what presents itself as an epic BCS championship game matchup – also live as close to a normal life as any major program in America.