Hope springs at Notre Dame

We are 99 days away from the beginning of the final college football season that will end with a BCS title game. The College Football Playoff will replace the current system starting in the 2014-15 season. For now, we will look back at the best and the worst of Notre Dame during the past 15 years of the BCS era.


1. BCS title game appearance: Notre Dame's 2012 season was one for the ages, despite the rout by Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship. It was easily the program's best of the BCS era, and it has the program set up for future success in years to come under Brian Kelly.

2. Tight end play: Tyler Eifert rewrote the school record book for Notre Dame tight ends and was drafted in the first round. Kyle Rudolph was just named Pro Bowl MVP. NFL players John Carlson and Anthony Fasano each had more than 1,000 career receiving yards in an Irish uniform, too. Notre Dame has distinguished itself as Tight End U. during the BCS era.

3. Conference move: Notre Dame was able to secure partial membership in the ACC moving forward, getting five guaranteed football games per year against that conference's members, gaining much better bowl access and securing a home for all of its other sports.


1. Bowl performances: The Irish are 0-4 in BCS bowls, losing all four games by double digits, and three by 27 or more points. They are just 2-8 overall in bowl games during the BCS era, losing six of those games by double figures.

2. Key rivalry performances: Notre Dame has winning records against Purdue and Stanford in the BCS era, but it has gone 6-7 against Michigan since 1998, including three consecutive last-minute losses from 2009-11, and will say goodbye to the rivalry after two more meetings. They are 6-9 against Michigan State in the BCS era, and 6-7 against Boston College during that stretch. They have lost to Navy twice, including a triple-overtime 2007 defeat that saw their record 43-game winning streak against the Midshipmen come to an end. And, as iconic as last season's victory at USC was -- clinching a national title game berth on the home field of the preseason No. 1 team and arch-rival, in a year the Irish themselves began the season unranked -- they are just 5-10 against the Trojans since 1998.

3. 2007: Notre Dame opened the season with five consecutive losses, its worst start ever. (All losses were by double digits, and the Irish failed to score 20 points in each.) The Irish finished 3-9, the most losses in a single season in school history.