After crapping the bed during the last half of the season our bowl options were limited. Tax Slayer, Pinstripe and Sun all offered less appealing opponents.
A win in the Belk Bowl against Georgia would not have provided as much of a bump since the narrative would have been that ND played the 2nd place team in the weaker SEC division. More problematic, they probably presented a more difficult matchup for ND with a more balanced offense.
Fate presented ND with a good matchup. Kelly put together the type of offensive gameplan we've wanted; Brindza found redemption in a GW field goal; Zaire proved himself worthy of leading the team - and even held for the field goal; Golson played well under what had to be extremely emotional times; the much maligned defense came up with stops when it counted most.
There are most certainly issues that linger: Golson's future; an inability to get the ball to Bryant; replacing Riggs; staving off poaching from Harbaugh; Kelly's interest in the NFL. All that being said, I simply cannot imagine how anyone can view this victory as anything but a huge boost to the program and a glimpse of the foundation upon which Kelly could build next year's team...should he choose to use it.