It's been three decades since the last game was played in one of the nation's great football rivalries. In 1989, Notre Dame's Fighting Irish beat Southern Methodist's Mustangs for the tenth time in a series that stretches back to the 1930s. SMU, nearly always the underdog, has won only three times, and eagerly looks ahead to a possible renewal of the intersectional contest sometime in the 2020s.
Rumor has it that the series ended thirty years ago because it increased religious animosity. The Gallup polling organization conducted a survey of Americans on the eve of the 1989 game, and the results of the poll were quite revealing. All the major beliefs regarding religion were evident in the way the people polled looked at the Irish-Mustang match-up.
For those who have difficulty differentiating between various religious beliefs, here is Gallup's foolproof litmus test for making those distinctions:
What's a Christian? Someone who is sure that God is on his side, whether the guy is for the Irish or the Mustangs.
Who's a true Catholic? The guy who hates football but cheers for Notre Dame when it's the Irish against SMU.
A Protestant? The Texas Aggie alum who roots for Southern Methodist when SMU plays Notre Dame.
How does Gallup define an atheist? Someone who doesn't care who wins when the Irish take on SMU.
So where does the agnostic stand on Notre Dame v SMU? He doesn't know if there will be a game.