It was a fulfilling Christmas Eve in South Bend. Notre Dame finally broke it's nine-game bowl losing streak and won its first postseason game since 1993 in a 49-21 rout of Hawaii. Jimmy Clausen was the star of the show, throwing for 401 yards and five touchdowns. Three of them came in a decisive second quarter when the Irish turned a 7-0 lead into a 28-7 halftime cushion.
The breaking of the bowl streak was the main storyline to come out of this game, and even though I led with it in this post, I think that's somewhat overrated. You can't treat every bowl game as equal--is it really better for Notre Dame to have won the Hawaii Bowl this year as opposed to 2005 when they lost the Fiesta Bowl? A bowl losing streak isn't like an NFL playoff losing streak or an NCAA Tournament losing streak because the objective in college football is to draw the toughest game possible.
But overrated or not, any program trying to rejuvenate itself has to clear as much negative spin as they can out of the atmosphere. Winning this game did that for Notre Dame and the bowl streak is no longer a topic of discussion. Now they can get focused on some of the longer-term problems that are holding them back, namely getting a running game established. Even in this victory, the Irish rushed for only 65 yards. Clausen can carry them against a WAC defense, but that won't fly next fall. If Charlie Weis can't fix that, ND fans might want to watch the Orange Bowl carefully, because it will mean the odds of Cincinnati's Brian Kelly landing in South Bend for 2010 got a lot stronger.