Dames [1934]

If you bleed Fighting Irish green, this eight-disc set is as mandatory a purchase as a Joe Montana Beanie Bear or a John Robinson dartboard. It contains seven complete momentous Notre Dame victories, and for extra points, a bonus eighth disc containing the complete second half of the "Game of the Century," the 1966 contest against Michigan State, a fiercely fought 10-10 tie that drew a then-record audience of 33 million viewers. The set kicks off with the 1977 "Green Jersey Game," an emotionally charged 49-19 rout of rival USC. The 1978 Cotton Bowl match-up against the undefeated University of Texas features a dominating performance by Montana and the defense that catapulted Notre Dame from a #5 ranking to the national championship. The 1979 Cotton Bowl against Houston is a thrilling come-from-behind victory in which a flu-stricken Montana entered the game in the third quarter and rallied his team from a 22-point deficit to win 35-34 in the final seconds. The 1988 regular season game against Miami is another legendary contest decided in the final seconds. This set includes two more bowl games, the 1989 Fiesta Bowl versus West Virginia, and the 1992 "Snow Bowl" against Penn State, featuring quarterback Rick Mirer's game-winning two-point pass to Reggie Brooks with 20 seconds on the clock. The final game in the set is the 1993 regular season contest against #1-ranked Florida State, which features yet another thrilling climax. These are not highlight films. As with its World Series boxed sets, A&E is presenting each game in its entirety as it was broadcast (minus the commercials), complete with pre- and post-game segments (the simple graphics on the older games are positively quaint). Each info-packed volume sleeve contains game rosters, game synopsis, box scores, the opposing coaches, coach and player quotes, and "press box" trivia (33 players in the '66 game with Michigan State went on to play professional football). For the less obsessed fan who wants to skip to the good stuff, each DVD menu allows viewers to navigate directly to scoring drives. Any one of these games goes a long way toward defining Notre Dame's mystique, but beyond its appeal to the "sons of Notre Dame" (to quote their fight song), this epic collection affords students of the game the opportunity to watch future NFL stars and legendary coaches (on both sidelines) in their college heyday. --Donald Liebenson

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