Notre Dame fans eager for championship game

The Irish upset Alabama 24-23 in the 1973 Sugar Bowl.
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Notre Dame fans are fired up for Monday night's BCS Championship game when the Irish take on Alabama.

"This is like the Super Bowl. It really is," said Russ Dodge, Fighting Irish fan.

Dodge noted, "Notre Dame has a big national following and there's a lot of pent-up demand among alumni for [a title.]"

The Irish last won a football championship in 1988. But another game feels more like déjà vu for Dodge. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1974 attending the 1973 Sugar Bowl in which the Irish upset Alabama 24-23.

He remembers "working my down from the seats in the end zone so we could storm the field and congratulate the players and coaches."

He still has the student paper declaring Notre Dame number one and a commemorative 7-Up bottle "saluting" the Irish victory.

Kristi Kennedy, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1996, said "We got through Christmas and New Year's and we're done with that and now there's one more holiday for Notre Dame."

Kennedy said she would have love to have gone to Miami to see the game but said it was "a really tough ticket."

She said they had a lottery with more than 140,000 requests and fewer than 10,000 tickets available for alumni.

Asked about the loyal fan base, Kennedy said, "You love your university while you're on campus and the appreciation after graduation continues to build, and you recognize the special experience you were able to have."

Kennedy, Dodge and other Notre Dame alumni plan to gather at the Stacked Pickle restaurant downtown to watch the game and they're counting on the luck of the Irish to beat Alabama.

"My prediction for the game tonight is 24-23 Notre Dame over Alabama. History repeats itself," said Dodge.