How can you not include a game that's simply known as "The Holy War" in any college sports bucket list? Of course, when we say Holy War we're talking Boston College vs. Notre Dame.
Sure, in recent seasons this game hasn't been quite as big as it used to be on the national stage, with both schools taking a dip in their national prestige and all, but don't get it twisted - these schools and these two fanbases hate each other. Think of it as "Catholic on Catholic Crime" as they are the only two roman catholic institutions in America that play FBS football. (A fact I was even a bit stunned by at first)
What makes this game stand out is that it's not rooted in a hundred year history, or in geographical, or inter-faith based hatred, it's based off of good games and a shared Jesuit tradition.
This is a series that began back in 1975, making it one of the youngest games to appear on our bucket list.
It's appearance so high on the list though has nothing to do with the nature of the schools or their hatred, it's simply one of the most competitive series' out there. They've met just 21 times and the series is only separated by 3 games with Notre Dame leading it 12-9.
It's also a series that's produced some of the most memorabe games of the last 40 years or so.
Talk about the name David Gordon around Irish fans and you are likely to be in a world of trouble. Why? He was the man that kicked the game winning field goal to give the Eagles a 41-39 victory over the #1 ranked Fighting Irish and knocking them out of contention for another national title in the 1993 contest.
On the other side the name Lou Holtz is cursed for his teams actions in a 54-7 trouncing a year before when the Eagles entered the game undefeated and hoping to make a major bowl game again. That didn't happen obviously after that scoreline.
During "The streak" of Boston College in the 2000's no game stands out more on either side of the rivalry than the 2002 game. Notre Dame came in ranked 4th in the nation and with asperations of another national title, something they hadn't done in years. Boston College hadn't won a game against a top five opponent since the famous win in 1993, a decade earlier. The green jerseys came out for this game, something that hadn't been done by the Irish at home in 17 years and they were about as unlucky as one could get. ND had 8 turnovers on their way to losing 14-7 to the Eagles.
As you can see, despite the short nature of the series history, it's one that's meant a lot to the seasons of both schools in just under it's 40 year history.
While the schools don't play each other every season you can be sure that the hatred is passed down from one class to the next. It may be a bit more intense on the side of the Eagles simply because they are the main rivals for them and Notre Dame has longer standing traditions with the likes of USC, Stanford, Michigan, and Purdue, but to be sure ND doesn't like losing to a school they consider to be a "little brother".
In fact, Boston College actually holds the longest winning streak, winning six straight games from the 2001-2008 seasons. That was something the Irish needed to stop first if they were going to get back on their perch atop the college football world. Since that 2008 season the Irish have regained the dominance in the series, winning the last three games.
Because of the unique nature and the linked recent history of these two programs this is a must see game, whether it's on Chestnut Hill or in the shadows of Touchdown Jesus.