Notre Dame Football: Question Marks Still Surrounding Fighting Irish

James MaahsContributor IIIOctober 30, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 20:  Players for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish pray in the end zone before a game against the BYU Cougars at Notre Dame Stadium on October 20, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated BYU 17-14.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Any doubts about Notre Dame were almost put to rest when the Fighting Irish dominated Oklahoma last weekend 30-13.

The Irish are now 8-0 and can possibly run the table, with the rest of their schedule showing some very favorable matchups. Notre Dame could make a BCS bowl game and walk away with a championship to end an already fantastic season.

But are there still concerns around this team that looks to go perfect to end the year?

The Irish did give up 364 yards on pass defense to Oklahoma but were still able to ground them in the end zone.

Notre Dame's defense is one of its biggest strengths and almost a standalone reason why the team has gone 8-0 this season. It can also serve to be the Irish's biggest weakness, though, if their opponents are able to play it the right way.

A rough-and-tumble game against the Fighting Irish will surely leave their defense bruised and slow them down a bit. How else would a team fight against a Notre Dame defense that has been so good thus far?

One question for this team is whether or not it can run the table over the rest of this season. The Irish very well have to if they would like to make it into the BCS National Championship Game.

There are four remaining teams that will challenge the Fighting Irish: Pittsburgh, Boston College, Wake Forest and No. 17 USC.

The first three matchups will be heavily in favor of Notre Dame. Playing at No. 17 USC may prove to be a little trickier, but if the Irish have a chance to be perfect for the season, they won't head to Southern California unprepared. A perfect regular-season record seems to be in the cards.

The only real questions that remain is whether the BCS system can put the team in position to play for the national title and, of course, whether the Irish can win that game if they get there.

Notre Dame has played a good enough schedule that proves them worthy enough of playing against No. 1 Alabama in the final BCS game.

The only problem is Kansas State and Oregon are in the same situation. They both lead Notre Dame in the USA Today Coaches' Poll.

If it came down to it, Kansas State and Oregon have a better shot at the last game against Alabama. Both have tougher schedules down the stretch, and the computers will surely acknowledge that if they win.

Notre Dame is having a great year. Too bad the playoff format starts in 2014 and not 2012.


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