Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Wednesday, January 3

Looking For A Notre Dame Ending

The college football world is rocking, and not just because Nick Saban is back in the game (leaving the NFL's Miami Dolphins for Alabama for about $600 million a year). No, tonight Notre Dame plays Louisiana State in a Sugar Bowl epic designed to restore more of the luster to a New Orleans city that still needs it.

This bowl could pump about $200 million into the economy, which would rank fifth in recent tourism-generated events according to the Baton Rouge's The Advocate.

No. 1 is the 2002 Super Bowl at $350 million followed by $300 million for the 2006 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the $250 million for the 2004 Sugar Bowl (national title game where LSU beat Oklahoma) and the $221 million for the 2003 Mardi Gras.

What does this have to do with Notre Dame's chances? Nothing, of course, but the understanding that a lot of Irish fans are contributing to the city's economic recovery.

As far as the game, consider LSU is 10-2, has won six straight games and has won seven of its last nine bowl games. Notre Dame is also 10-2, but not nearly as well regarded coming off a blowout loss at USC. It has also lost a record-tying eight straight bowl games.

No matter. This is a chance to set a tone for the future while winning for the seniors and it starts, but certainly doesn't end, with quarterback Brady Quinn. He has 36 school records for his career. He's thrown for 35 touchdowns this season against five interceptions. He's completed 63.4 percent of his passes and totaled 3,278 yards.

In an ideal Notre Dame world, he would go out a winner. This, of course, isn't always an ideal world. But tonight, at least, the Irish can do their part to see that it is.


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