Notre Dame is now 8-0 and can almost taste a national championship berth. It is on the tip of their (collective) tongue, and there aren't many teams left on the schedule that have the ability to prevent any of it from happening.
That includes this week’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Panthers.
The Panthers will travel to Notre Dame Stadium this weekend and get crushed by the Irish, as Brian Kelly's troops will improve to 9-0 and move one step closer towards shocking the entire college football world, including most realistic Irish fans.
Don't say anything about how great Pittsburgh has been playing as of late or how close the meetings between these two teams have been the last couple of years. I don't want to hear it because none of it will mean much when these two clubs square off this weekend.
You could consider this a trap game for Notre Dame, as Pittsburgh shouldn't be given much of a chance in this contest. Also, the Panthers aren't a ranked team, and the Irish are fresh off arguably the biggest victory in recent memory.
However, Notre Dame doesn't seem to be the type of team that would overlook an opponent.
Don't get me wrong, any team can lose on any given Saturday. Yes, that includes this matchup—though I see almost no way of it happening. But the Irish aren't cocky and undisciplined, as you many other teams in this position might be.
The offense continues to keep its nose to the grindstone—since it isn't good enough to look ahead—while the defense has great leadership with players such as Manti Te'o and Prince Shembo.
Speaking of Te'o: According to ESPN, he is doing his usual job of keeping this team grounded and focused.
"We've come a long way," Te'o said. "We're going to continue to get better. That's our main goal right now. Just continue to get better and not be satisfied with being 8-0."
The Irish are a team that truly wants to improve each week and has yet to lose that chip on their shoulder. You rarely see these types of teams lose a game because they were looking too far ahead or refused to get off of the bus.
Pittsburgh Won't Score
If you tell me Pittsburgh has finally found itself on the offensive side of the ball, I'll tell you it was against teams like Buffalo and Temple. You tell me the Irish should fear the Panthers' two-headed monster at the running back position, I'll tell you Notre Dame has already shutdown guys like Le'Veon Bell, Stepfan Taylor and Denard Robinson.
What is Pittsburgh really going to do that Michigan, Miami and Oklahoma couldn’t?
The bottom line is that Tino Sunseri has always been a shaky quarterback and usually folds against average defenses. Running back Ray Graham still has yet to regain form, as he suffered an ACL injury last season. Graham has become more of a factor in the passing game as of late, but Notre Dame has seen all of this already.
Who wins the game?
The Irish have only allowed one rushing touchdown all season, are allowing barely three yards a carry and only three teams have managed to top over 100 yards on the ground. The Panthers offensive line has been abused all year against defenses in the Big East; I can only imagine what is going to happen against the front seven of Notre Dame.
As far as the quarterback position is concerned, Sunseri hasn't thrown an interception in five contests, which means he is due for a couple of completions to the other team.
Notre Dame has a legit defensive unit that just gave Oklahoma fits all night on the offensive side of the ball. Until Pittsburgh can score on a team worth mentioning, it isn't going to mean much to this Irish football team.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.