BOSTON — There’s plenty of football history to talk about at Notre Dame, an eight-time Associated Press national champion that is once again undefeated and trying to peek its way into the NCAA title discussion.
One subject they try to stay away from: The rivalry with Boston College.
The only other Catholic school playing in the FBS, Boston College has twice spoiled Notre Dame’s unbeaten seasons and eliminated it from the national championship chase. Now, the Fighting Irish (9-0) are heading to Chestnut Hill and hoping to avoid another upset that would destroy their very outside chance at an NCAA title.
“I’m starting to hear about it,” nose guard Louis Nix III said this week as the Fighting Irish prepared for the game known locally as “The Holy War.” ‘‘A lot of people saying, ‘Blah, blah, blah. BC is going to come in,’ and we might lose. I guess because 20 years ago they beat us when we were undefeated, which I don’t see what that has to do with now.”
Notre Dame has finished first eight times since the AP poll began ranking teams in 1936. This year, the Irish are No. 4 heading into Saturday night’s game, and they would likely need two of the other unbeaten teams — Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State — to lose in order to claim a spot in the BCS title game.
Of course, the Irish would also need to win out, and that starts with a victory against a Boston College (2-7) team that is having its worst season in more than two decades. But the Eagles have always posed problems for their Catholic rivals, beating them six straight times from 2001-08.
That streak included a 2002 win over a fourth-ranked and unbeaten Notre Dame team. In 1993, 17th-ranked BC beat the No. 1 Irish 41-39 on a field goal as time expired.