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BCS rout takes shine off Notre Dame's 12-1 season

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly believes as poorly as the Fighting Irish played in the 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game, the experience will help the players get better.

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Kelly says the Irish (12-1) know how much better they need to be to compete for a national championship, a title that has eluded Notre Dame since 1988.

The performance is likely to leave lingering questions about just how good the Irish were this season and whether they can put together another good season next year. Notre Dame hasn't won a major bowl game since beating Texas A&M 24-21 in the Cotton Bowl following the 1993 season and has put together back-to-back strong seasons just once since Lou Holtz stepped down following the 1996 season.

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