Notre Dame's dynasty: 1943-49

Alabama, Notre Dame's Jan. 7 opponent, is approaching dynasty status. A Tide win over the Irish in the Discover BCS National Championship will be their third crown in the past four seasons. Colleague Ivan Maisel puts their current run in perspective, while we look at some of the great college football dynasties of all time.

Notre Dame arrives in this category from 1943-49. Here's a quick look at that era, ushered in by Frank Leahy:

Why it started? Leahy's hiring at Notre Dame can be seen as where the program began to rise again. After going 20-2 and winning the 1941 Sugar Bowl while coaching Boston College, he went a combined 15-2-3 in his first two years with the Irish.

Why it ended? Notre Dame went 4-4-1 in 1950. The four losses that season were more than Leahy had in his seven previous seasons at Notre Dame combined (three).

Did you know? In addition to the Ireland Trophy, the winner of the Notre Dame-Boston College game receives the Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl, as Leahy coached both schools, which are the only Catholic FBS institutions.