With the resurgence of football at Notre Dame this season Irish fans are excited. I live in the center of Notre Dame hype and support in Chicago. These fans have every right to be thrilled with their team’s success and the obvious upgrade of their once floundering football program. I believe Notre Dame is great for tradition, even though in the more recent past they were often over-rated. People tend to love them or hate them but few real fans ignore them. Tonight they face a true test when they play Oklahoma in Norman, a tough road game if there ever was one. I expect the Irish to lose this evening but their defense is good enough to keep them in this game and give them a shot at a close win in the fourth quarter. If they win then they will then have a decent shot of playing for a national championship in January. (They still have to play and beat USC as well.) But true fans know better than to plan their schedule around a BCS Championship game quite yet. Tonight will go a long way in telling us just how good the Fighting Irish really are as a 2012 team.

My interests lie to the south of where I live. As an Alabama fan, and an Alabama undergrad in the 1960s, I often read excerpts from Coach Nick Saban’s weekly radio show to keep up with the Tide. This week Coach Saban was asked a question about Notre Dame. I loved his answer. When Saban was asked if it was good for Notre Dame to be winning again he said: “It’s good for college football when Notre Dame is good? To me, it’s good for college football when Alabama is good.”

Amen coach and Roll Tide. The game I truly care about is @ 7:30 p.m. CDT on ESPN. It involves No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 11 (Mississippi State) in Tuscaloosa. State always plays Alabama tough and the upset alert should be heard by the Tide players. I wish I had picked this game for my annual trip home but I picked an earlier game against Ole Miss. I will see this one in the comfort of my home. But if this game is a W then next week Alabama plays LSU at night in “Death Valley” with everything on the line once again. That one will be worth seeing by any fan who loves great defense.