If you're in college right now, odds are you remember more painful Notre Dame losses than rapturous Irish victories. But even old-school Domers have some memories they'd like to block.
It's OK. You're in a safe place now. The welcome mat is out and we just baked some fresh cookies. Step into the Notre Dame House of Pain:
Beau Brumbaugh in Syracuse, Ind., writes: A lot of ND fans, especially the younger generation, will point to the Bush Push as the biggest heartbreaking loss at Notre Dame, but Boston College game in '93 is the absolute worst loss for 3 reasons. First, it came the week after the highest of absolute highs in beating No. 1 Florida St in an absolutely classic game that was a nailbiter to the end. Secondly, it was a loss to a subpar opponent that had no business being in the game, period, and it threw the hopes for a national championship up in the air. And third, and worst of all, we had to watch Florida State, a team we BEAT, go on and win the national championship.
If you can name me one college football game that was a triple-decker kick in the gut like that game was, I'd love to hear it.
Paul in Toledo, Ohio writes: 1993 BC game ... I was 11 and I still remember that field goal. Very painful.
James Russell in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Five years later, I still can't talk about the "Bush Push" game. The play before the final TD, Leinart's fumble could have gone anywhere and allowed time to expire. Instead, it went directly out of bounds, preserving enough time for Reggie to escort his QB into the end zone and crush ND's title chances. The fact that USC recently forfeited this game doesn't even begin to fill the empty void left in my soul. Ah, the luck of the Irish indeed.
Nate Johnson in Ashburn, Va., writes: My sophomore year at Notre Dame and Ty Willingham's first year coaching. Started off with that magical run to 8-0 with Boston College coming to town. No one even imagined we would lose that game, but 5 turnovers later we sure did. I can still see Pat Dillingham's ill advised pass landing in the arm's of linebacker Josh Ott as he sprinted for the deciding touchdown. I don't think I've ever heard the campus as quiet and dejected as it was that night.
Mike Allocca in Long Island, N.Y., writes: My freshman year at Notre Dame while watching our team take on No.1 ranked USC as well as try to break of losses against our rivals. The game lived up to the hype and it seemed that victory was within the Irish's grasp before an ending which included the scoreboard running out the clock to zero seemingly signaling an Irish victory accompanied by myself and my fellow students beginning to rush the field; only to have 7 seconds put back on the clock and the ensuing agony of the "Bush Push." A joyous victory turned into a crushing defeat in the matter of seconds.
Shawn Miller in Creston, Iowa writes: The most painful loss for me was the 1996 game at USC. Notre Dame scored late to go up 20-12 only to miss the PAT keeping USC within one score. As luck would have it, the Trojans drove the length of the field and tied the score and won in overtime 27-20. This marked Lou Holtz's last game on the Irish sideline and combining this loss with a questionable loss to Air Force ended the campaign at 8-3 instead of 10-1 playing for a potential championship. Notre Dame football has never been the same since and has greatly suffered under the leadership of Davie, O'Leary, Willingham and Weis.
Eric Marleau in Forest Lake, Minn., writes: Notre Dame-USC 1964. Irish 9-0 and went to USC, defeated by pro-wrestling type officiating. The game was officiated so badly, that the Irish were awarded the Maxwell Trophy that year, and Ara was awarded Coach of the Year. The loss still hurts, and I hate USC as bad now as back then. Glad the the bums are on probation.
Rob Curcio in Johnstown, Pa., writes: I was at a friends wedding Oct. 16,2005, following the ND-USC game on my phone and called my friend because my phone was behind. He told me that ND recovered a fumble and then said, no, they didn't. Then he told me Reggie Bush pushed Leinart into the end zone and they lost. The rest of the night was just horrible.
Joe Geglio in South Bend, Ind., writes: In 2002 Nebraska came to ND and I remember ND ticket holders were selling their tickets to Nebraska fans for up to $500 each, because we had been so bad in recent years. Come kickoff, the "Sea of Red" was painfully visible in Notre Dame Stadium. In the end, Bob Davie opted to let the clock run into overtime instead of trying for a field goal and a win. We got a field goal in overtime, but Eric Crouch scored in OT, spun the ball behind the goal line, and that was history!
Jack in Des Moines, Iowa, writes: Notre Dame-Navy, The First Time the Unthinkable Happened. When Navy finally broke Notre Dame's seemingly never-ending streak after 3 OTs in 2007, there was joy in the world (no school the following Monday for Midshipmen). But there was a dark, painful, gut-wrenching aspect too: notably for the Domers who stayed in the stadium waiting for (and hallucinating about) a 4th OT that never came. Is there anything more painful than being excluded from the following group: Students at Notre Dame who Never Experienced a Loss to Navy. I submit that there is not.