New Notre Dame Coach Marcus Freeman 'Rooting Like Heck' For Cincinnati

New Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman said he couldn't root against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday in the American Athletic title game against Houston, even if a Bearcat loss meant a CFP berth for the Fighting Irish.

"We knew there was a scenario where two of the four things had to happen," Freeman said during an appearance on the "Dan Patrick Show." "Finally I got a chance to just turn on the TV in the fourth quarter of the Oklahoma State game, and I saw the very end of that game, and that was one — one of the four — and then I could not root against Cincinnati."

In October, Cincinnati beat Notre Dame 24-13 and Patrick didn't hesitate to remind Freeman about it.

"And so I was rooting like heck for that program, for him and those kids," Freeman said. "And they won. ... We control what we can control. And that's what I've told this group. And that's what I'm telling myself is what a great opportunity we have on Jan. 1 to play Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl."

Freeman said he couldn't root against Cincinnati — his former team, where he was defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2020 — when he caught the last part of the game but said he reminded his team that they can only control what they can control.

"It's crazy. As crazy as it sounds, yeah. That's the reason," Freeman said. "And as much as you wanted to win that one, you know, if you could choose one team or one group of individuals to lose to, it's that group. Because I know the work they've put in. You know, I'm gonna be rooting like heck for them when they play Alabama," he said.

Last week, Notre Dame football promoted defensive coordinator Freeman to head coach after a season with the program.

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