Notre Dame Football has re-emerged into the national picture this season after a hiatus from national relevancy. Sitting pretty at 10-0 and ranked No. 3, the Irish are a lock to be playing for the BCS title once January arrives.
The Irish have survived the toughest part of their schedule and out of the top three ranked teams have the easiest remaining schedule.
A pair of ranked opponents loom in the near future for the No. 2 Oregon Ducks while No. 1 Kansas State will finish their season with a tough unranked Baylor team and the No. 15 team in Texas.
A rivalry game on the road provides a tough challenge for the Ducks, who hope that they can remain undefeated and have a shot themselves at a national title. K-State hopes to have the same luck and find themselves in a title hunt in January, but one of those teams will not be in the picture once January arrives.
At least one of these teams will be upset before the season ends. While some people feel the Ducks are the true No.1 team in the nation, Oregon is on upset alert for the rest of the season. The Oregon offense has proven that they can score with ease this season, averaging nearly 55 points per game.
Their defense has struggled at times so far this season allowing just over 22 points per game. The USC Trojans showcased that weakness by scoring 51 points en route to losing a barn burner in L.A. on November 3.
An Oregon team that was once thought to be untouchable is going to be upset by the end of the season. With a pair of back-to-back tough challenges to end the season, the Ducks are going to be put through the ringer.
Stanford may not beat the Ducks when they face off but Oregon State has a great shot to knock off their rivals. A team that has quietly put together a strong season, the Beavers would love nothing more than to defeat their cross-state rival and end their hope of a national title.
Some people argue that the Irish's lack of strength of schedule should not allow them to play for a national title, but the facts say otherwise. Of the top three ranked teams, the Irish's opponents boast the best record.
With a combined record of 54-45, Notre Dame's opponents have a better overall record than K-State (49-48) and Oregon (48-54). The Irish have defeated four teams ranked in the Top 25 at the time of the game, and will see another one when they face the Trojans.
The Irish will end their season traveling to Los Angeles to face off against the USC Trojans in a growing rivalry. USC is not the team that they were touted to be at the beginning of the season, however, and they do not provide much of a challenge for the Irish.
Before the Irish roll into Los Angeles, though, they must first face the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest University. The Deacons are simply overmatched in this game and present no threat to the Irish. Notre Dame's defense has been shutting down opponents all season and shutting down Wake Forest should be no problem at all.
The Irish have proven this season that their defense has what it takes to win close games and shut down opponents. Notre Dame's defense has only allowed over 20 points once this season, a 3OT victory over Pittsburgh. Defense has become the Irish's calling card this season, and stellar defense will lead them to a national title game berth.
Notre Dame has proven that they are one of the country's elite teams this season. A weaker end to their schedule combined with the tough schedules of both K-State and Oregon will help catapult the Irish into one of the top two rankings.
When the season concludes the Irish will be undefeated and sitting pretty for a shot at a BCS title.