The Notre Dame Fighting Irish slot in at No. 5 in the first edition of this year's BCS rankings, giving Brian Kelly's squad the inside track to a major bowl game this season.
How big of a deal is that? Allow Irish Illustrated to explain:
Notre Dame opens the BCS rankings at No. 5, first time the Irish have been that high in six years. Computers had Irish at No. 2.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) October 15, 2012
It's been a long time coming. The Irish have climbed their way back into the national picture, but an anemic offense and tough schedule won't allow them to stay there.
According to Chicago Tribune reporter Brian Hamilton, ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer tends to agree:
Notre Dame has its strengths. There's no doubting that. With the nation's No. 2 scoring defense—one that hasn't allowed a touchdown in four weeks—the Irish have a chance to beat anyone.
But sooner or later, they will need to score. The No. 69 scoring offense won't cut it, and Golson is a big reason for that. He's young and athletic, but sometimes that works against him, tending to make bad decisions in critical moments.
The Fighting Irish have completed the most difficult part of their schedule, but two more major challenges still lie in front of them. No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 10 Southern California will both challenge that defense like no other, forcing Notre Dame to score some points of its own.
It's hard to envision Notre Dame remaining undefeated for the remainder of the season. Another loss for teams like Louisiana State and South Carolina could allow it to remain at No. 5 even if it does lose, but that's up in the air as well.
Notre Dame faces two more ranked teams and a trap game next week. Brigham Young is not ranked, but Notre Dame must be very careful against the Cougars' scrappy defense.
Brian Kelly's team has been fun to watch. They're tough, and they play with unbridled emotion, but they can only win with one specific formula.
If another team forces them to score to win, the Irish are in trouble. That problem makes their drop in the BCS rankings a matter of when, not if.
*For a complete look at standings, click here
Week 8 BCS Rankings
|4||Kansas State |
|5||Notre Dame |
|7||South Carolina |
|8||Oregon State |
|12||Mississippi State |
|13||West Virginia |
|14||Florida State |
|17||Texas Tech |
|18||Texas A&M |
|22||Boise State |
|24||Iowa State |