For example, ND was still only #3 going into the bowls in '73, even though only two top teams had perfect records.
Despite only 2 wins against SC, ND's performance in big games under Ara overall was clearly up to snuff:
•ND, 2-7 in its last year before Ara, beat SC on the road to clinch the national championship -- except the refs stole it from them.
•The tie in the '66 Game of the Century against MSU was achieved on the road, with ND's starting QB and RB out injured, and with the #2 QB teetering on the edge of diabetic shock. ND murdered SC 51-0 the next week to clinch the NC.
•In '68, ND tied unbeaten, #1-rated USC on the road while holding Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson to a season-low 55 yards rushing. ND did this with its star senior QB out injured for the entire game.
•ND tied USC again in '69, missing a field goal that would have won the game. SC went unbeaten and untied the rest of the season and won the Rose Bowl.
•ND barely lost to #1 national champion Texas in the '69 Cotton Bowl, then upset the still-unbeaten champs handily the next year in the rematch.
•The Irish solidly beat USC 23-14 in '73 en route to the national title. The defense, with 3 true freshmen in prominent roles, smothered a high-powered offense that featured Lynn Swann and Anthony Davis (55 yards rushing).
•ND defeated unbeaten #1 Alabama 24-23 in the 1973 Sugar Bowl to win the national championship. Ara forever silenced critics of his daring, calling a bold bomb to the backup tight end out of ND's own end zone on 3rd and long as time ran down to preserve the win.
•ND ended the Parseghian era a year later by beating the Tide, again unbeaten and #1-ranked, in a 13-11 upset.
The insinuation that Notre Dame was top-ranked only because it feasted on patsies for 11 years simply doesn't stand up to close inspection.