Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish aren't strangers to bowl games. In 2010, the Irish won the Sun Bowl before falling in the Champs Sports Bowl in 2011.
While those trips were fun and rewarding for players and coaches alike, Notre Dame's bowl game this year isn't fun and games -- it's business. Brian Kelly told the Chicago Sun Times that Notre Dame isn't playing in a bowl game, but rather, playing for the national championship.
"This is not a bowl game," Irish coach Brian Kelly said. "You're playing for a national championship."
So you can forget that 2 a.m. curfew Kelly has imposed in the past for the first couple days of the bowl trip. Doors close at 11 p.m. every night once the team arrives in sunny Florida on Jan. 2.
The Irish shocked the country by finishing the regular season 12-0, and finishing No. 1 in the BCS standings, earning a date with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS title game.
It comes as no surprise that Kelly and his staff are taking this game so seriously. A national title would assert Notre Dame front and center in the college football world, bringing relevance back to a program that seemed destined to fade into mediocrity.