Notre Dame will be recognized as the No. 1 college football team in the country by the AP poll this week, the first time the program has seen No. 1 since mid-November of the 1993 season.
"I'm not sure what took so long, but we're happy to welcome the rest of the country back into the flock of believers," said Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins said. "We've known all along that we were the best. For whatever reason, probably jealousy, the polls have claimed we were not. But our greatness is too great to ignore anymore."
The Irish lost their No. 1 ranking in 1993 one week after earning it with a 41-39 loss at home to Boston College. The next year the team went 6-5-1 and the program hasn't had a season with fewer than three losses since that '93 campaign.
"Look, everyone around South Bend and Notre Dame fans across the country have known we have always been the best team," said head coach Brian Kelly. "I wouldn't have taken the job if that wasn't true. For whatever reason the media and casual, uninformed college football fans have latched onto the SEC lately, but the SEC has nothing on the history and undeniable greatness of Notre Dame. At the very best, the championship teams of the past 25 years have been a sort of fraudulent placeholder."
If Notre Dame manages to stay undefeated and wins its first national title since 1988, and second since 1977, Fr. Jenkins says he hopes college football decision makers will correct the decades of errors they've made.
"It would show how the last 20 to 25 to 35 years of college football, essentially the modern era, was a blip that should be stricken from the record book or, out of fairness, at least have Notre Dame declared co-national champions for all those years," he said. "We have placed too much emphasis on wins and losses instead of true eternal greatness that everyone knows and acknowledges deep-down that Notre Dame has always had."