Ara Parseghian won a lot of games at Notre Dame. But the 1973 Sugar Bowl, in which the Irish beat Alabama to claim the national title, is among his very favorites.
"We were undefeated, they were undefeated," Parseghian recalled. "(Tide coach Bear Bryant) had declared his team was the best offensive and defensive team he'd ever coached, and he wanted to play Notre Dame. It was the North and the South, and the Baptists and Catholics. There was a lot riding on that game. Big time. And to be able to be a part of that, and then ultimately overwhelm them, by one point -- that's as good as 50 I guess -- it stands out."
Stands out to many. The game is widely regarded as one of the top 10 bowl games ever.
"The lead changed hands six times in that game," Parseghian reminded.
Thirty-nine years later, Parseghian sees a lot of similarities between his team that beat Bama, and the one Brian Kelly will take into Monday's matchup with the Tide.
"Both teams were not expected to do as well," he said. "We had a very young team.
"Same thing for Brian."
After such a long wait, Notre Dame's return to prominence is certainly special enough all on its own for Irish fans.
But for Parseghian personally, the fact that they'll play Alabama, makes it even better.
"Oh yeah, absolutely," he said. "Because Alabama, historically, especially under Bryant, as well as others, and Saban there now, have had winning programs. And to be able to play a team like that, just enhances the whole thing. I think college football needs this kind of competition."