Notre Dame football: Irish still a major draw
Luck of the Irish? Luck of the draw.
Results of the Notre Dame football ticket lottery were announced Friday. University officials anticipated refunding nearly $3 million to those whose names weren't chosen in the process.
It was the greatest demand for tickets since 2008, which, really, is difficult to interpret.
It isn't easy to get into the head of a Notre Dame football fan.
Winning means everything to those blue-and-gold-bleeding folks who don't bat an eye at putting down some pretty big bucks to sit through a bunch of excruciatingly long TV timeouts framed around the occasional block and tackle.
More than 30,000 tickets are available via the lottery -- involving contributing alumni -- for each home game this season. Notre Dame's Sept. 22 date with Michigan (more than 40,000) and the Oct. 13 contest with Stanford (39,000-plus) generated the most interest.
The Shamrock Series off-site home game at Chicago's Soldier Field with Miami received more than 65,000 requests, the most of the four-year event.
Thinking back to 2008: The Irish were coming off a 3-9 season. Jimmy Clausen was a sophomore. No way could he take punishment like he had the year before. Right?
San Diego State and Syracuse, along with the usual suspects, didn't necessarily make the Irish home schedule marquee quality that year.
Not quite sure what would have fueled such a groundswell of interest for tickets back then.
Fast-forward a regime. Why would the third year of the Brian Kelly era conjure more interest than the first, which was supposed to be a breath of fresh air?
Maybe fans remember what Lou Holtz (12-0), Dan Devine (11-1) and Ara Parseghian (9-0-1) did in their third seasons. Of course, they must have forgotten how Gerry Faust (7-5), Bob Davie (5-7), Tyrone Willingham (6-6) and Charlie Weis (3-9) navigated theirs.
One thing about the Irish: No matter the record, they travel well.
Notre Dame's Oct. 27 visit to Oklahoma has been one of the most desired road tickets of all-time.
And then there's Ireland.
When the Irish pack their gear and head overseas for their Sept. 1 season debut against Navy, there will be about 40,000 countrymen following. Notre Dame's allotment of 7,500 tickets was snatched up in a matter of hours. Many fans are making the pilgrimage without a ticket in hand -- just hoping.
Officials in Ireland are comparing the influx of fans for this game with the interest generated by the Ryder Cup golf event, as well as the Special Olympics.
But, there is a problem.