A thrilling championship season

Notre Dame's 1988 championship and the last great college football season

Updated: August 23, 2013, 2:52 PM ET
By Jerry Barca | Special to ESPN.com

[Editor's note: This excerpt sets up the 1989 Fiesta Bowl showdown on New Year's Day that led Notre Dame to the title and solidified quarterback Tony Rice as a true star.]

Before the team left campus for a few days of Christmas break, Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz put them through a rigorous string of practices to prepare for the Fiesta Bowl matchup with West Virginia.

"All the little things that you're taught to do in spring practice and training camp, we went right ...

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