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BCS Championship Game 2013: Notre Dame doesn't make title game without Everett Golson

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly believes that without Everett Golson, the Fighting Irish would not be playing for the BCS National Championship.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Everett Golson was not always the popular choice at the quarterback position in South Bend. Some games he played poorly and some games he was replaced by backup Tommy Rees, but as the season went along, the redshirt freshman greatly improved.

In early November, when Golson took the offense on his back and led a heroic comeback against Pittsburgh, there was no question who the Notre Dame quarterback was. Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel writes that head coach Brian Kelly fully appreciates the job Golson has done. When asked whether the Fighting Irish would be playing in the BCS National Championship without Everett Golson, Kelly responded, "No."

"We don't get here," Kelly said. "... I hadn't thought that much about it, but we don't get here unless Everett Golson develops the way he did."

Golson finished the regular season with 2,135 yards and five touchdowns passing, as well as 305 yards and five touchdowns rushing. Most importantly, he put the Fighting Irish in manageable situations and let the nation's top defense do the rest.

Golson and Notre Dame take on No. 2 Alabama Monday night in search of the Fighting Irish's first national title since 1988.