For the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Sunday evening marked a seminal moment in Brian Kelly's tenure—his Irish found themselves in the Top Five of the BCS Standings.
Take a moment, Irish fans, and enjoy the success. The Irish are only halfway done with the season, but they stand among the country's best right now, and that's something that has not been true for quite some time.
Now, after that moment to relish in the success fades, stand up and accept the arguments from the haters. You know the ones: Notre Dame has not played anyone, Notre Dame is still a terrible team, Notre Dame is overrated, Notre Dame would get killed by teams X, Y and Z. The list goes on.
And right now, they are partially correct. Notre Dame has not played anyone. That is, if the term "anyone" refers to an elite football team.
Michigan and Michigan State have been wild disappointments this season. The Wolverines are a one-man team, and that one man was a turnover machine in South Bend. Michigan State is a team with no offense with whom the Irish were able to have their way on the road. Navy, Purdue and Miami left plenty to be desired.
What do you think about Notre Dame so far this season?
Luckily, from a BCS standings and a critic-silencing standpoint, Notre Dame has plenty of time to shut folks up. The schedule, in the back half, has got two tests that, for now, look better than anyone Notre Dame has seen thus far: Oklahoma and USC.
Both teams can sling the ball around as a way to attack the Irish's Achilles heel, their secondary. Both teams can also run on defense, which will force Notre Dame to be more consistent on offense.
There is not much the Irish can do to abate the criticism right now. If they hate, then let 'em hate. Beat BYU and rise higher in the BCS standings.
When challenges present themselves, the Irish have to take care of them.