Catholics vs. Convicts: How a T-Shirt Sparked a Heated College Football Rivalry – FanBuzz – Sports News – NFL | NCAA | NBA | WWE

    Some rivalries begin with the smallest things, while others begin with actual battles. “The Game”, better known as the rivalry between the University of Michigan and Ohio State, was actually born out of each state’s disdain for the other after the Toledo War. The rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs has deep roots going back to when the French and British fought over territory in the mid-18th century.

    Throughout college football history, there have been countless heated rivalries, but how many can say they started with just one jersey? only this one really can.

    Reading: Catholics vs convicts football game

    in 1988, the notre dame fights ireland and the miami hurricanes were set to play one of the biggest games in the season in >south bend, indiana, but it got even bigger when a t-shirt with the words “catholics vs. convicts” came to life.

    It all started with a t-shirt

    Miami QB Steve Walsh (4) in action, making pass under pressure vs Notre Dame Chris Zorich (50) at Notre Dame Stadium

    Photo by Bill Smith /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

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    the jersey was created by notre dame students joe frederick and pat walsh, and became extremely popular with irish fans and students. frederick came up with the phrase and idea, while walsh designed the shirt.

    the phrase refers to the university of notre dame being a catholic school, while the university of miami and the hurricanes football team were, at the time, , viewed as “criminals” and “the bad boys of college football” due to what they called arrogance.

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    With how popular the jersey became, and is still talked about today, it’s no wonder u players were offended and angered by the jersey. And more than 30 years later, the 1988 Miami-Notre Dame game is still called the Catholics vs. Convicts game.

    the great game of 1988: miami vs. notre dame

    At the time, Miami football was a beast of a college football program. entering the 1988 season as defending national champions and seeking their third title of the decade. The Hurricanes had beaten the Irish by a combined score of 82-7 in their last two meetings, in which Lou Holtz was signed between games, so there was confidence on their side. that might have been his biggest downfall in the game.

    the hurricanes turned the ball over seven times in the game, including a goal line fumble by cleveland gary. (side note: Gary definitely crossed the plane to score or at least was down before the ball got loose.) even with all their mistakes, the batons found themselves only one point down after tony rice had dropped the ball.

    with 45 seconds left in the game, miami scored a touchdown to cut the irish lead to 31-30. And since there was no overtime in 1988 college football, head coach Jimmy Johnson decided to opt for the two-point conversion instead of kicking the extra point. Steve Walsh’s pass to the corner of the end zone was deflected by Irish defensive back Pat Terrell and the game was over.

    For the next five years, this matchup played a huge part in the image of the NCAA National Championship, with the Irish winning in 1988 and then winning the National Title. In 1989, the Hurricanes beat Notre Dame and went on to win the championship. In 1990, the Irish won but lost to Colorado in the national championship.

    Playing big games against a team that can decide if you have a shot at a title definitely generates hate, but it was also between two schools that identified with absolutely opposite brands. adding the t-shirts that commemorate differences and making fun of a team definitely took it all to another level.

    the current state of the rivalry

    Jonathan Garvin #97 of the Miami Hurricanes recovers the fumble by Brandon Wimbush #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

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    This shirt built such a big rivalry. So much so that in 2017, when the schools played as top-10 teams, it was still called Catholics vs. Convicts, and was built up as one of the biggest games of the year. When Miami won 41-8, Hurricanes fans treated it as one of the biggest wins in the past 20 years for the program due to the hate built up from their games with the Fighting Irish in the 80s.

    so, is the rivalry between notre dame and miami still going strong? well, in recent years, as miami begins to find its place under coach mario cristóbal and notre dame begins its post-brian kelly adventure, it’s possible that these two teams will start a new competitive relationship. As Notre Dame falls down the rankings and Miami begins its ascent, it’s highly plausible that they could meet in the middle.

    espn 30 for 30 documentary

    Not many rivalries get a documentary made by ESPN, but in 2017, the network launched a “30 for 30” feature. It was directed by Patrick Creation, a Notre Dame alumnus, and focused on the jersey that sparked the rivalry. it’s interesting because we take a look at the opinion of both sides on the jersey. worse than any other school.

    but what the documentary doesn’t really do is weave the stories together in a way that makes notre dame student culture and the miami football game come together. while the football aspect is definitely more interesting, the doctor leans heavily into the minutiae of the jerseys, their production and their sales, but he never seems to find a smooth transition between the two. due to the nature of weighting both stories equally, some viewers may switch to “the u: part one” for a fuller dose of college football.

    but don’t take our word for it, see for yourself!

    This article was originally published on June 26, 2019 and has been updated since then.

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