Nobody has ever accused me of being a Notre Dame homer. In fact, I'd never hide the fact that, as a Marquette guy, I'd just as soon the Irish lose every basketball game they play. And, unlike some of my fellow Warriors, I didn't root for ND football just because that was the big Catholic school.
Having said all that, I'll say this: Notre Dame, as much as any team can, "deserves" to play in the mythical national championship game.
Notre Dame plays a national schedule, which is more than Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Kansas State, Ohio State and any other team can say.
Are there cupcakes on the ND schedule? Sure. Name a school that doesn't play a bunch of those. Did ND have to squeak out victories over a few mediocre teams? Sure. Name a team that didn't have some close calls against inferior opposition.
Notre Dame played road games against Michigan State, Oklahoma and USC as well as home games against Michigan and Stanford. All were ranked in somebody's top 10 at some point this season. Each team fell to the Irish.
Notre Dame isn't one of the great teams of all time. Nor is it even one of the great teams of recent vintage. I'm guessing that the Irish will be underdogs against either Alabama or Georgia in the pretend title game. But for the first time in years, Touchdown Jesus didn't have to cover his eyes when the home team was playing.
The Irish did everything they had to do to be ranked No. 1 in the ridiculous, convoluted, unsatisfying system college football uses to crown its make-believe champion.
The sport is better when Notre Dame matters. It will be even better if the Irish are playing for a real championship in a few years after the BCS goes bye-bye.