The Big Ten is seriously down this year. There's no getting around it.
Whether it's getting upset, getting steamrolled by legitimate competition or barely beating an extremely inferior opponent, the Big Ten has been very underwhelming this season. No team in the conference has really shined yet, and considering the beef of Notre Dame's schedule is made up of a few Big Ten teams, the Irish should have a solid season in 2012.
The Irish already knocked off Michigan State last week and just now defeated Michigan 13-6. With these two wins, ND already has a solid resume' and still have a few big games to propel themselves into the BCS. The Irish will probably move into the Top 10 when we wake up in the morning, and that can almost solely be credited to the Big Ten.
Notre Dame has already beaten three Big Ten teams, two of which were supposed to be the best in the conference.
It's obvious that Kelly and his offense are slowly settling in, but the biggest difference for ND has been on the defensive side of the ball. Manti T'eo has been playing some inspiring defense and is clearly the sole leader of this team. Their defense has set the tone, and they are a steady unit to rely on week in and week out.
They embarrassed Denard Robinson and have only given up nine points in two weeks. It's been awhile since ND has had such a solid defense, and it's about time. It seems like year in and year out a soft defense has been one of the Irish's biggest problems, but with this defense, there's nothing stopping this team.
Normally around this time of the year, Notre Dame's BCS aspirations have already been shot by Michigan State or Michigan, but with these two big wins, the Irish are officially in the hunt this year.
A down year for the Big Ten was definitely a good way to start their BCS campaign, but tough steps against Stanford, Oklahoma and USC still have to be taken. If they can manage to win at least two of these games and they can take care of business in games they're favored in, they will find themselves in the BCS for sure.