With its win Saturday night, Notre Dame completed a 12-0 regular season that began Sept. 1 with a game in Dublin. The “Fighting Irish” survived two overtime games to remain unbeaten. They will play for the national championship in January against the winner of the SEC championship, either Alabama or Georgia.
The university’s website says the origins of the Fighting Irish nickname are unclear.
The most generally accepted explanation is that the press coined the nickname as a characterization of Notre Dame athletic teams, their never-say-die fighting spirit and the Irish qualities of grit, determination and tenacity. The term likely began as an abusive expression tauntingly directed toward the athletes from the small, private, Catholic institution.
The nickname was officially adopted in 1927.