With such a disappointing loss, was the expense worth it?
A plane full of Irish fans returning from Miami landed at the South Bend Regional Airport on a direct flight around noon Tuesday.
Fans came off the plane wearing their Notre Dame hats and t-shirts. Not one said they regretted making the trip.
It was back to reality for dozens of disappointed Irish fans who arrived back in chilly South Bend after spending several days in sunny south Florida for the Notre Dame-Alabama game.
"It was a great experience in Miami," said Carmen Leickty. "The team did a fantastic job. We're really proud of the team," added her husband Damon, who showed off his new t-shirt which read "South Bend to South Beach."
The couple left their two kids with grandma and grandpa so they could escape to Miami to see their favorite team.
Despite the crushing defeat, the Leicktys and other fans proudly wore Notre Dame t-shirts and hats as they got off the plane.
"I think it was exciting, win or lose, being down there and being a part of the championship game," says Ann Polcari, a Notre Dame graduate student who made the trip with friends.
From lying on the beach to tailgating parties to shopping, the only letdown of the trip according to the fans was the score, but they aren't letting that ruin their memories.
"Just stayed out at the beach, hung out, saw a lot of people I knew," said Tim Leman from Edwardsburg.
"I was staying at the hotel with the Alabama team, so it was funny being around there before the game," explained Notre Dame sophomore Fiona Paladino.
For many, it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
"Even when you have great teams and great programs, great schools, you don't get to the national championship Game that often," said Leman, "So, when it happens, you gotta go!"
But it wasn't cheap. The average three-day trip, including airfare, hotel, and ticket ran about $2,500 to $4,000 per person.
The Leicktys and others say supporting the team was well worth it.
"Do it again, in a flash," remarked Damon Leickty.
"I was just glad my wife said it was okay," smiled Leman.
WSBT asked Paladino and Polcari, "Once you get the bills, will there be any regrets?"
"Maybe from my dad," laughs Paladino. "Luckily, we have nice parents," added a smiling Polcari.