9781250048653

Unbeatable: Notre Dame's 1988 Championship and the Last Great College Football Season

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781250048653

  • ISBN10:

    1250048656

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 8/5/2014
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
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Summary

Perhaps the best undefeated team in the history of college football—the dramatic true story of the 1988 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their incredible unbeaten season
They were an unlikely crew tasked with a seemingly impossible mission: restore Notre Dame's place as a college football power. In 1988, led by a scrawny, bespectacled coach who spoke with a lisp, a black Baptist quarterback from South Carolina, and a ferocious defense, they returned Notre Dame to the top.
Before Lou Holtz's arrive, the one-storied program of Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, and George Gipp and the Four Horsemen had become at best mediocre and, even worse, mentally and physically soft. The downward drift culminated in a 58-7 bashing on national TV against the University of Miami, a flashy upstart that stormed its way to the top spot in college football.
This is the first in-depth look at the players, the coaches, the campus, and the season that returned Notre Dame to its glory.
Throughout all of Notre Dame's lore, no Fighting Irish team has had more characters than the '88 squad. The starting linebackers, nicknamed the Three Amigos, were known for crazed antics such as leaving game tickets for Elvis Presley or smoking a reporter's cigar during practice. The five-foot-nothing walk-on kicker used visualization and a sort of voodoo jazz-hands to ready himself for field goals. Tony Rice, the against-the-odds quarterback, was mocked because of his high school academic credentials and continually questioned by the media about whether he could ever truly succeed as a quarterback for Notre Dame. The team was also stacked with future NFL talent, including Ricky Watters and Raghib "Rocket" Ismail.
In a thrilling twist of fate, the season's schedule served as a national championship elimination tournament. No game was bigger—or more hyped—than the matchup with No. 1-ranked Miami. In a game dubbed "Catholics vs. Convicts," the Irish won in the final seconds by a single point.

With original reporting, interviews with everyone from the players to the coaches, detailed research, and access to the Notre Dame archives, Jerry Barca tells the gripping story of an unbelievable season and a team that became legendary. More than a Notre Dame book, Unbeatable is the compelling narrative of one of the most incredible sports stories of the last century.

Author Biography

JERRY BARCA graduated from Notre Dame in 1999. While on campus he worked in the athletic department. He's currently a journalist whose writing has appeared on SI.com and in the Star-Ledger, Asbury Park Press, Home News Tribune, Syracuse Post-Standard, Herald News, the Courier-Post, and numerous Notre Dame game programs. He can be heard talking sports on Sirius/XM’s Ron and Fez Show. He lives in New Jersey.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Unflinching
Chapter 2: The Ashes
Chapter 3: In Lou We Trust
Chapter 4: Waking Up the Roster
Chapter 5: The Quarterback
Chapter 6: Readying for the Rise
Chapter 7: Demanding Perfection
Chapter 8: New School Athlete, Old School Football and the Asian Kicker
Chapter 9: Freaks
Chapter 10: Throwing Darts
Chapter 11: The Triple Fumble
Chapter 12: Prelude to a Brawl
Chapter 13: Catholic vs. Convicts
Chapter 14: Weekday Wars & Visualization
Chapter 15: Backers & Zorro
Chapter 16: TV Revolution & The Renegade Bowl
Chapter 17: Suspensions & Hollywood Underdogs
Chapter 18: Carrying Them Off
Epilogue
Author’s Note
Acknowledgments

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