In what has already been a Hail Mary of a season for Notre Dame, fan Dan Scaminace might have saved the longest of long shots for last.
But you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take. That was essentially the thought he had six weeks ago as he wondered how in the world he might get tickets to see the Irish take on Alabama in Monday's BCS Championship Game.
"I was talking to friends about getting down to Miami, going without tickets, seeing if we could get them, but at least be a part of it even if we didn't," said Scaminace, a 2005 Notre Dame alum and a Cleveland native who has lived in Minnetonka for the past three years. "We didn't really have any plans. Then one day, I was paying my Discover card bill online. It dawned on me: It's the 'Discover BCS championship.' I'm a loyal credit card holder."
You might be thinking, "So am I. So what?"
Well, Scaminace wrote a letter to the top of the Discover food chain. He explained his ticket plight. He professed his love of Notre Dame. And he made promises. Big promises. He said he would cancel all his other credit cards, transfer balances to his Discover card and donate his cash back bonuses from Discover to charity if they would grant him two tickets.
"I was laughing as I wrote it. I thought, 'This is pretty good,' " Scaminace said. "I was slightly embarrassed, but I certainly wasn't above it."
Particularly not when he got a response from the top. Turns out those in power were impressed, too. One thing led to another, as Discover realized it had an unscripted public relations hit on its hands. Not only did the credit card company pony up two free tickets but also airfare and hotel in Miami for Scaminace and his fiancé, Corynn Koch.
"I was shaking during the phone call," he said.
Koch is a schoolteacher in Eden Prairie and received special permission to take extra days off. The pair is slated to be married Aug. 17.
"She's insinuated that I'm looking forward to the national championship game more than our wedding," Scaminace said with a laugh.
Well, he did fly in early, arriving in Miami by Friday to soak it all in.
But hey, it would have been hard to picture any of this happening a few months ago.
"I can't believe I'm going to be there, that I have tickets," Scaminace said, "and that Notre Dame is even in it."