Notre Dame currently trails Kansas State and Oregon for a shot at the BCS Championship game, a situation that could change radically in the next two weeks.
This week's BCS rankings have the No. 3 Fighting Irish with a .9396 ranking average, which is right behind No. 2 Oregon with .9497.
The Irish seemed to have maxed out their ranking, and unless Kansas State or Oregon lose in the next two weeks, Notre Dame is not expected to make the BCS Championship game.
But why should that hold the Irish out of the big game?
If they go undefeated, Notre Dame deserves a fair shot at a BCS Title berth. But due to their supposedly weaker schedule and lack of play against "better" teams, the Irish may be unfairly left out.
Notre Dame has a case, for the stellar defensive season they had should not go down quietly.
They hold claim as the best defensive team in the country, averaging 11.1 points against.
Coach Brian Kelly has said that the staple of any good championship team is its defense (via the Chicago Tribune):
The distinction of this football team, it's the No.1 scoring defense in the country. It's proven that against very, very good teams all year.
If you look at national championship-caliber football, you've got to look at a defense, and so that's why we feel strongly that our football team has put themselves in the discussion. We'll let others decide, but I think we've played our way into the discussion.
That supposedly weaker schedule involved stiff competition from No. 10 Michigan State, No. 17 Stanford and of course No. 8 Oklahoma. Their impressive 17-point win in Oklahoma showed the strength of the Fighting Irish's defense.
Of course, the Irish have played weaker teams, and that has reflected on the rankings, but take a look at Oregon.
Oregon has dominated lesser teams, evident by their win 70-14 over Colorado. But when they played No. 17 USC, Oregon gave up 51 points in which their stellar offense saved to day in a 62-51 win.
No way that Notre Dame's defense gives up 51 points when they play USC to end out their schedule. In fact, if the Irish were to beat USC by a wide margin, like they did with Oklahoma, style points must be given in their favor. A favorable push if both No. 1 and No. 2 remain undefeated.
Kansas State has legitimate claim at the No. 1 spot, and they will remain there pending an undefeated season. Blowout wins were provided by an offense that makes up for defensive gaffes.
The destiny of where the Fighting Irish end up will be in the hands of the BCS rankings. All three teams deserve their fair discussion of being in the BCS Championship game.
But when it comes down to it, Notre Dame should have a larger share of that discussion. Anything can happen in two week's time.
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