It was a dark and not-stormy night...
Stormless, I sat at Rosie O’Grady’s with a good friend and my luckiest ND baseball cap. Twenty-four HD TVs at a Michigan sports bar with a game time of 8 p.m.
And the reason for venturing from the friendly confines of my man cave?
The Irresistible Force versus the Immovable Object—No. 8 Oklahoma at home versus a 5th-ranked Irish squad.
Resplendent in his red game duds, before me, “Big Game Bob” Stoops leered on-screen: 79-4 at home over 14 seasons with a national championship and seven Big-12 titles in his pocket.
Plenty to leer about.
Drinks at the ready, I dug in for the pending conflict.
The hostilities started when I realized that a 22nd-over-ranked Michigan Wolver-rats team was going up against a corn-fed over-hyped Nebraska Husker team at the same moment the Detroit Tigers were trying to claw their way back into World Series contention.
TVs were at a premium, and the place was rife with Mitten-State fanatics.
Many a battle is won with quick money, and a prompt $20 tip on a two-beer tab averted a crisis as I was ceded one screen in a remote corner devoted to ND for the duration of the viewing campaign.
And what a campaign it was.
I hunkered down as skirmishes broke out, pitched battles were fought, and a gridiron war was won.
In the end, Stoops yelled, yelled some more, then merely Stooped.
And in the process, my eyes were treated to the birth of a new Irish Nation, as even the crashing waves of embittered Spartan and Wolverine faithful had to concede the Irish a sovereign position among the nation’s best football teams.
As the battle-smoke cleared and the ibuprofen did its handi-work, two important things became abundantly clear.