Despite the excellent play of Manti Teʻo and Notre Dame’s defense, the Fighting Irish are destined to fall out of the BCS Top 10.
Notre Dame has not allowed an offensive touchdown in its last four games.
The Irish have only surrendered an average of 8.7 points per game. This ranks them second behind Alabama.
These numbers, however impressive they may be, have come against substandard teams.
The Irish had a tough time beating Stanford. It eventually came down to a controversial goal line call that went Notre Dame’s way.
This win on a national stage earned Notre Dame a great deal of credit from fans. Stanford’s only real quality win, however, came against an injured USC team. Furthermore, Stanford followed that win up with a bad loss to an average Washington Huskies team.
Notre Dame’s other ranked foes, Michigan State and Michigan, now have a combined five losses. The Spartans have fallen completely out of the rankings.
Notre Dame must win out in order to have any chance of making it to the BCS National Championship game.
Even so, they would have to jump an Oregon Ducks team that could very well go undefeated, and whichever team wins the SEC.
The likelihood of Notre Dame winning out is not very high. They must still play at Oklahoma and at USC. Both these venues are incredibly difficult to win at.
Beyond that, both teams have the type of phenomenal offense necessary to beat Notre Dame’s defense.
Oklahoma is ranked ninth in points for with an average of 43.2 points per game. This includes the 63 points the Sooners just dropped on the Texas Longhorns.
USC is always a danger to score in bunches. Matt Barkley leads an offense that includes future NFL receivers Marquise Lee and Robert Woods.
Notre Dame will have a hard time winning these two games. Their defense will have a tough time against two of the best offenses in the nation.
Also, Notre Dame will have to overcome the offensive problems seen in their win against Stanford.
The Irish have had troubles with turnovers this season. In their game against Stanford, Notre Dame fumbled the ball two times. This included a fumble in the end zone that Stanford recovered for a touchdown.
Head coach Brian Kelly recently talked about his concern over turnovers this season.
"It's something obviously we cannot continue to have. [Golson has] got to take better care of the football. He's got to do it in practice, and he's got to be smarter,” via The Chicago Tribune.
Kelly went on to say, “If you look at the first turnover, we're talking about mishandling a direct snap, something we do every day. Totally unacceptable."
These turnovers will likely be the downfall of Notre Dame in its remaining games. They will be especially harmful in the games against Oklahoma and USC.
If Notre Dame loses two more games, the team will likely slide out of the BCS Top 10. It is a sad, but likely, end to what started as a fantastic season for the Irish.