Twenty years ago this week, Notre Dame was both undefeated and uncompromising. The Fighting Irish were strong enough to be ranked No. 1 in college football and principled enough to suspend both their leading rusher and their leading receiver before an epic showdown against second-ranked USC.
Lou Holtz never knew a finer hour as a football coach. Notre Dame never seemed more noble, more worthy of its mystique, or better equipped to compete without cutting corners.
This was a long time ago in a football world far, far away.