John Adams: 2012 Notre Dame similar to 1998 Vols' national title team

John Adams
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o acknowledges the applause of fans as he leaves his final home game late in the fourth of an NCAA college football against Wake Forest game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o acknowledges the applause of fans as he leaves his final home game late in the fourth of an NCAA college football against Wake Forest game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

SEC fans usually pull for SEC teams when a national championship is on the line. And since the upcoming national championship game involves No. 1 Notre Dame, the choice is even easier.

But if Tennessee fans delve deeper into the Alabama-Notre Dame match-up, things could get complicated — and not just because they're probably weary of their longtime rival enjoying such prominence.

This Notre Dame team reminds me of Tennessee's 1998 national championship team. The most obvious similarity: Clutch play.

The Vols beat Syracuse and Arkansas on their last drives. They beat Florida in overtime. They rallied to beat Mississippi State in the fourth quarter of the SEC championship game. They won six games by 10 or fewer points.

This season, Notre Dame needed overtime to beat Stanford. It needed three overtimes to beat Pittsburgh. It has won six games by nine points or fewer.

Both teams also benefited from the misfortune of others.

The Vols overtook Arkansas thanks to a fumble by Razorbacks quarterback Clint Stoerner, who inexplicably tried to use the football to brace his fall. There was nothing so mystifying with Notre Dame's good luck: A Pittsburgh kicker simply missed a chip-shot field goal that would have won the game.

When Tennessee defeated Florida State in the national championship game, the Seminoles were down to their third-string quarterback, after losing two quarterbacks to injury. When Notre Dame defeated Southern California in its last game of the regular season, the Trojans were playing without All-American quarterback Matt Barkley, who suffered a shoulder injury a week earlier.

Even the teams' statistics are similar.

UT had four players rush for 287 yards or more, and its leading rusher had 970. Notre Dame has four players with 305 or more yards rushing, and its leading rusher has 880.

UT quarterback Tee Martin completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 2,164 yards and rushed for 287 yards. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 2,135 yards and has rushed for 305.

Both teams had exceptional defenses, led by a star middle linebacker.

UT's Al Wilson forced five fumbles, recovered two fumbles, had six tackles for loss and one interception. Notre Dame's Manti Te'o has seven interceptions, two recovered fumbles and five and a half tackles for loss.

The teams have something else in common: confidence.

UT played as though it never expected to lose, even as an underdog in the national championship game. Notre Dame plays the same way.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 63

TKO writes:

Bama not near as good as last year on defense making the game with the Irish a toss up.

Fluffydog writes:

Normally, I would pull for the SEC team. But you have to love Manti Te'o. He is a classy young man who has endured great tragedy. and maintained a positive attitude, and contributes to the community through charity work. The Notre Dame team has maintained the highest standards of conduct and acedemics. And it is hard to pull for that jerk Nick Satan, and all of the jerks from Alabama, again. So, GO IRISH!

stevefrommemphis writes:

I have to be for Notre Dame. Cannot be for Bammer under any circumstances.

scvols writes:

Our 1998 team could beat ND by 13 and Bama will beat them by 10.

VOLtage writes:

Pittsburgh 17 Youngstown St 31
Notre Dame 29 Pittsburgh 26 (3OT)
'nuff said

laraccoon writes:

Georgia lost cause they couldnt tackle , good game though .

VFLVFLVFL writes:

Wow. Adams just wrote a story without being completely negative about Tennessee. I'm shocked. Could it be true? I thought after coming off one of worst seasons in school histories and the articles produced were " Tennessee needs speed" ... ok? thanks for stating obvious. oh yea and " next coach needs to build depth " ok? and? anyone that pays attention to TN football notices we skipped out on lineman recruiting other than JUCOs. This is an actual article that is not negative. Sure its not positive, but hey - I'll take what I can get. Good move Adams. Thanks for having an off day. Just please do not title your next article "Tennessee needs a new coach" and proceed to remind us all how bad we have faired lately. We all know and its been painful enough. I already missed out on my wish that GA and Bama would end in a 0-0 tie and be voted worse game ever. BTW, after watching that game with all the talented RBs - boy it would be nice to sign Derrick Green

lomas98 writes:

in response to VOLtage:

Pittsburgh 17 Youngstown St 31
Notre Dame 29 Pittsburgh 26 (3OT)
'nuff said

What does that mean. Tx a & m beat Alabama. Florida beat tx a& m, Georgia beat Florida, Bama beats ga. What is your point?

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

All teams that win a championship get lucky once or twice. Even all the teams that don't play for a championship get lucky in some of their wins. But at least Tennessee can say that they went UNDEFEATED!

cltvol writes:

i'm for notre dame and each SEC opponent tem in bowls,,,my misery needs company

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did FU ever have an undefeated season??

govolsdid writes:

I have said the similarities are very much alike BUT, I am pure SEC and hope BAMA beates ND by 35!!!!! Hope we can land an established COACH to lead us back!!!!!!

CrankE writes:

"The Vols overtook Arkansas thanks to a fumble by Razorbacks quarterback Clint Stoerner, who inexplicably tried to use the football to brace his fall."

Did UT score on that fumble? Or did they still have to drive the field to score?

FIRE JOHN ADAMS.

beartn#223846 writes:

I didn't think we were the underdog to FSU in 98, were we?

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

Why do people try to use the excuse that Florida St. had to play a backup QB in that game? That same "backup" played their last game against Florida that year and beat them just before playing Tennessee. Their QB wasn't the problem. A good journalist would have known that fact.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ask a simple question..Bwahahahahaha!

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who is "we"? Your nickname refers to the Green Bay Packers.

CrankE writes:

"When Tennessee defeated Florida State in the national championship game, the Seminoles were down to their third-string quarterback, after losing two quarterbacks to injury."

Which didn't stop the bookies from making #2, 10-1 FSU a 3 point favorite over Tennessee-expanding to a 5 point favorite by kickoff. Which didn't stop the sportswhores (i.e. the press) from nearly unanimously picking FSU to beat UT. And it didn't stop that same press from turning into "Seminole Apologists" after the game.

Before the game, Marcus Outzen was called "indomitable" because he beat Florida. After the game, he just some poor helpless third string QB.

The sportswhores made much of Tennessee's "luck" and of their opponents' misfortunes-in essence, cheapening the achievement and spoiling the moment for UT.

One of the reasons it's so fun to talk about 1998 now is because I remember what the sportswhores said before the game and what they said after.

FIRE JOHN ADAMS!

6972 writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

I have to be for Notre Dame. Cannot be for Bammer under any circumstances.

Bummers v/s the Yankees from South Bend:
Like trying to decide if you rather have diarrhea or the pukes.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to CrankE:

"The Vols overtook Arkansas thanks to a fumble by Razorbacks quarterback Clint Stoerner, who inexplicably tried to use the football to brace his fall."

Did UT score on that fumble? Or did they still have to drive the field to score?

FIRE JOHN ADAMS.

Whether Stoener fumbled or not UT would have forced a punt and gotten the ball back..That play helped in field position, but UT was able to run the ball down Arky's throat with Henry. That's not luck, it's called will.

movol53 writes:

I know some of you can't be for Bama but I HATE ND more!!! GO SEC< SEC !!! Everytime they win something the national press makes it sound like ND has risen from the dead and defeated every obstacle to do it - - it's sickening. Specially that Brent M guy on CBS. GO SEC!!!SEC!!!
PS, Hart all I want for Christmas is a PROVEN HC. His staff needs to be in place before Jan 4. The recruiting "dead period" is from Dec 14 until Jan 4; so get that staff together and get out there and recruit!!!!!! GO VOLS!!!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How does it feel to play in a Sugar bowl that has no bearing on anything??

rtrchatt writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

I have to be for Notre Dame. Cannot be for Bammer under any circumstances.

Got 23 Stevie???? No the little orange has 13 lol.... 60 wins in 5 yrs another SEC RECORD for the Tide. Only SEC school to win at least one SEC Title every decade is ALABAMA BABY...

Makes NO difference who you hire.... Saban will OWN his ssa and there is NOTHING you can do. Roll Tide

rtrchatt writes:

Bama 23 SEC titles....

UT 13 SEC titles....

Fla 8 SEC titles....

Do the math and fight over second place.... The 2 of you COMBINED are still second best.... FACT ROLL TIDE

pickinhick writes:

in response to VFLVFLVFL:

Wow. Adams just wrote a story without being completely negative about Tennessee. I'm shocked. Could it be true? I thought after coming off one of worst seasons in school histories and the articles produced were " Tennessee needs speed" ... ok? thanks for stating obvious. oh yea and " next coach needs to build depth " ok? and? anyone that pays attention to TN football notices we skipped out on lineman recruiting other than JUCOs. This is an actual article that is not negative. Sure its not positive, but hey - I'll take what I can get. Good move Adams. Thanks for having an off day. Just please do not title your next article "Tennessee needs a new coach" and proceed to remind us all how bad we have faired lately. We all know and its been painful enough. I already missed out on my wish that GA and Bama would end in a 0-0 tie and be voted worse game ever. BTW, after watching that game with all the talented RBs - boy it would be nice to sign Derrick Green

Well, almost. He is still picking against the SEC. Almost sounds like rooting for a team outside the SEC.

OleBubba writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Did FU ever have an undefeated season??

No but they had a season where they lost every single game they played . You gotta suck pretty bad to lose every game , funny thing is UT has never had a season with more than 7 losses . Enjoy your little twenty years or so of tradition you got tinytown or whatever your name is and that goes for your girlfriend too , can't think of his name right now probably because he's that irrelevant

takespix writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Got 23 Stevie???? No the little orange has 13 lol.... 60 wins in 5 yrs another SEC RECORD for the Tide. Only SEC school to win at least one SEC Title every decade is ALABAMA BABY...

Makes NO difference who you hire.... Saban will OWN his ssa and there is NOTHING you can do. Roll Tide

Do you live in Chattanooga?

Rel2400 writes:

NC Game Priorities:

#1 - Team - (TN not playing)
#2 - Conference - (AL)
#3 - Circumstances - (Anyone playing USC or ND)

It is always good for TN for the SEC to remain dominant. We will now have a new head coach with the need to recruit. The SEC must continue the streak and make it 7 in a row.

TN won the first ever BCS NC Game. We are part of the history of the BCS. We now need to become part of the streak and the only way that will happen is with solid recruiting classes and effective coaches. SEC winning another NC only makes that easier.

Go Vols!

Good luck Bama!

ND Sucks!

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Bama 23 SEC titles....

UT 13 SEC titles....

Fla 8 SEC titles....

Do the math and fight over second place.... The 2 of you COMBINED are still second best.... FACT ROLL TIDE

You can brag about your beloved Tide all you want, but doing so on a Tennessee website proves that you are a loser - having to live through the achievements of the Tide. You are worthless.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

You can brag about your beloved Tide all you want, but doing so on a Tennessee website proves that you are a loser - having to live through the achievements of the Tide. You are worthless.

Do you think the first thing an Alabama fan would do after his team wins an exciting SEC championship game would be to get on a UT web site? These people are no more Alabama fans than I am. They have just found a way to get attention by pretending to be bama or florida fans and heckle posters on this site. Sad little people to be that desperate for attention.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yeah but you're still a pos

Dalton writes:

in response to CrankE:

"When Tennessee defeated Florida State in the national championship game, the Seminoles were down to their third-string quarterback, after losing two quarterbacks to injury."

Which didn't stop the bookies from making #2, 10-1 FSU a 3 point favorite over Tennessee-expanding to a 5 point favorite by kickoff. Which didn't stop the sportswhores (i.e. the press) from nearly unanimously picking FSU to beat UT. And it didn't stop that same press from turning into "Seminole Apologists" after the game.

Before the game, Marcus Outzen was called "indomitable" because he beat Florida. After the game, he just some poor helpless third string QB.

The sportswhores made much of Tennessee's "luck" and of their opponents' misfortunes-in essence, cheapening the achievement and spoiling the moment for UT.

One of the reasons it's so fun to talk about 1998 now is because I remember what the sportswhores said before the game and what they said after.

FIRE JOHN ADAMS!

Amen to all stated points...there was an obnoxious dismissive attitude towards the undefeated Volunteer team...Peter Warrick was going to set records and Janikowski's leg was going to be tested from all the extra points he was going to kick. We had no chance against that D and their overall team speed was light years ahead...then the game started

rusty_shackleford writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Bama 23 SEC titles....

UT 13 SEC titles....

Fla 8 SEC titles....

Do the math and fight over second place.... The 2 of you COMBINED are still second best.... FACT ROLL TIDE

Tell us about that Alabubba fan who got two years in prison for tea bagging an LSU fan and posting the video. You stay classy Alabubba!

signalcorps writes:

in response to TKO:

Bama not near as good as last year on defense making the game with the Irish a toss up.

I think they have enough left to get it done....

signalcorps writes:

good luck bama beat ND,,,,,GO SEC

TKO writes:

Go SEC. Beat Rudy

movol53 writes:

in response to ANYONE_BUT_LIBS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It makes no difference if you win by one or hundred and one a "W" is a "W" and it is forever recorded that way.Then I guess Bama just barely WON against GA yesterday afterall it was ONLY by four points.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to ANYONE_BUT_LIBS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee played the title game without Jamal Lewis from the Auburn game on that year. Ever heard of him? I think he cancels out Winky.

teuen101#453664 writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Bama 23 SEC titles....

UT 13 SEC titles....

Fla 8 SEC titles....

Do the math and fight over second place.... The 2 of you COMBINED are still second best.... FACT ROLL TIDE

you forgot one stat over 15 years of being on probation ..BTW isn't Bama still on probation from the NCAA ? Bet bama holds that recored as well - be proud my friend !

pcorange writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Florida wasn't even relevant until the 90s, so shut up and go back to your own board, idiot.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to ANYONE_BUT_LIBS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

FU lost to both teams that year..Just sayin'

murrayvol writes:

It's gonna be hard to pull for Notre Dame. Nah, not really.

bnakk#240693 writes:

Bama 42, ND 17

RockVegas writes:

Yea we won it back in 1998,we haven't been hungry since.I hate Alabama like everybody else but they are kicking tails and asking questions later...LOL.They know how to change the game plan up when they need too.They don't stick with something that doesn't work (Fulmer/Dooley)I didn't want them to get another shot at a National Title but hey,if they win it I'm not mad at all,they got the coaches and the players to Getter Done.If we don't find a coach by next week,we are finished for next season,and I will not spend another dime next football season either,just tired of everybody else winning with young talent,and all we talk about is how young we are,and the 1998 season....Please.Find Me A Coach Soon.

Vol_in_Mich writes:

The only reason the Vols beat Arkansas that year was because the Hog QB didn't take a knee & fumbled, otherwise no undefeated season, no BCS game, no NC!
As someone said "I would rather be lucky than good" It takes both.

ps: for the Gator fans on here, undefeated season means you did not lose a game that year. You will know how it feels IF you ever have one.

suggest_removal_4_all_troll_posts writes:

Unless Alabama starts Marc Outzen at QB, Bammer wins.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

Not a bad comparison, but that tidy bubble of history has no reach beyond the head of John Adams. I wonder why he didn't include Rosiland Russel in a Mother Superior movie role where she declares to her doubtful coach "but God is on our side." ND will need that and more. They have faced nothing like Bama this season. UGA, Fla, LSU, TAM would all beat ND in the NC game. Bama will eviserate them, to my boundless glee

lstbodeanvol writes:

in response to ANYONE_BUT_LIBS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee was without its leading rusher..Jamal Lewis...Weinke was like what 30 ??? also the all world Peter warrick was shut down and never heard from again..GO VOLS !!!!!

lstbodeanvol writes:

Notre Dame is an independent too scared to fully join a conference..if in the SEC where would they have been this year ???? 4th or 5th

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features