Prior to this season, there were many who were resistant to the idea that this could finally be the year that Notre Dame redeemed itself.
After they destroyed Michigan State 20-3 on the road, though, there are few who can respectably continue to dispute the fact that this is it: The resurgence of the Irish is upon us.
As an alumnus of one of Notre Dame's many inferior rivals, it pains me to say it, but it seems the Irish are for real this year. It seems that the coaches were correct in assigning Notre Dame a preseason ranking it didn't, at the time, seem to deserve.
The Irish haven't had an easy schedule in the beginning of 2012. In fact, they've had a much more difficult schedule than a team like Florida State, which has been able to beat up on the likes of Murray State and Savannah State.
Notre Dame has had to take on Navy, Purdue and Michigan State in the first three weeks of the season. All three of those teams were not only capable of beating Notre Dame, but also capable of beating many a top-25 team. There have been no easy games on the Irish's schedule yet, least of all the one they had in Week 3.
Now, with a decisive win over the Spartans, the Irish have something they haven't had in a long time—10 years, to be exact. They have a 3-0 start, and they have a big win over a marquee opponent that leads you to believe this team maybe—maybe—is going to be able to compete for a BCS bowl.
It's been a long way up for Notre Dame. There have been unheralded losing seasons, coaching changes, suspensions of key players and yet here they are, at 3-0, looking to surge up the polls the day after their biggest win yet. Their victories haven't been cheap: They've outscored opponents 90-30, they've won at home and on the road.
Of course, the Irish are going to have to keep it up in order to complete their comeback, and it isn't going to be easy. The first step is next week's game against No. 17 Michigan, soon to be followed by a brutal three-week stretch in which the Irish face three ranked opponents—Stanford, BYU and Oklahoma—all in succession.
But to be one of the best, you have to take down the best. And finally, for the first time in a long time, the Irish are starting to look like they can do just that.