Notre Dame BCS Rankings: Fighting Irish Won't Live Up to High Placement

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2012

Oct 13, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly and linebacker Manti Te'o (5) walk off the field together after defeating the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame defeats Stanford in overtime 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

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:

Jesse Palmer on #BCS Countdown: "#NotreDame won't finish undefeated if Everett Golson keeps playing quarterback."

— Brian Hamilton (@ChiTribHamilton) October 15, 2012

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

Rank Team
1 Alabama
2 Florida
3 Oregon
4 Kansas State
5 Notre Dame
7 South Carolina
8 Oregon State
9 Oklahoma
10 USC
11 Georgia
12 Mississippi State
13 West Virginia
14 Florida State
15 Rutgers
16 Louisville
17 Texas Tech
18 Texas A&M
19 Clemson
20 Stanford
21 Cincinnati
22 Boise State
23 TCU
24 Iowa State
25 Texas