McMurphy: Irish close gap, eye 2013

MIAMI -- Notre Dame senior running back Theo Riddick sat on his locker, head down.

The tears continued to roll down his cheeks. Occasionally he would wipe some away with a Gatorade towel. However, Riddick could not erase the memories, or the hurt, from Monday's 42-14 loss to Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship.

"All I can say," Riddick said, with his eyes staring at the ground, "is we have a great future in front of us."

The future does look much better around South Bend these days. As disappointing as Notre Dame's throttling was, the Irish went from unranked in the preseason to a No. 1 ranking, 12-0 regular season and first berth in the BCS title game.

"It doesn't matter what happened tonight, because I'll remember the guys in this locker room as a brotherhood," said senior center Mike Golic Jr., who also fought back tears.

"Hopefully this is a springboard for the players coming back. I heard (senior) Braxston Cave say if the pain you're feeling right now is not enough to motivate you in the offseason, then you might not have a pulse."

The program's pulse was getting weaker and weaker at the end of the Charlie Weis era.

That all changed with the arrival of coach Brian Kelly.

For Brett McMurphy's full column, click here.