Raise your hand if you actually expected Notre Dame to be ranked No. 1 at some point this year and you aren't a current or former student there.
That's what I thought—no hands. And yet here we are in November, and the Fighting Irish stand just one win away from finishing the year undefeated, atop the rankings and headed to the National Championship game.
It's madness, I tell you, sheer madness.
We got here this week after No. 4 Oregon fell to No. 11 Stanford in a 17-14 overtime loss, a game in which the Cardinal finally managed to jam a crowbar in the gears of Oregon's well-oiled offensive machine, while Baylor shocked No. 8 Kansas State in a big way, 52-24.
So what now?
Assuming Alabama beats Auburn and No. 3 Georgia beats Georgia Tech—and while we've learned nothing can be assumed, each seems highly likely to win—the winner of the SEC Championship game will likely head to the National Championship.
But before we even get to conference championship games, next week features a slew of huge matchups. Notre Dame obviously has the biggest of all against USC, while the tilt between No. 5 Florida State and No. 6 Florida has suddenly taken on new meaning.
Oregon has a chance to potentially return to the National Championship picture with a win over No. 17 Oregon State and a Stanford loss against No. 16 UCLA, which would put the Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship. Still, Oregon won't get any consideration unless Notre Dame loses.
And while it likely won't have National Championship implications, a game between No. 9 Clemson and No. 12 South Carolina should be one of the best games of the week and could have major BCS implications for each school, namely Clemson (it's unlikely South Carolina will get a BCS bowl this year).
If there's one thing we've learned, it's that November is a crazy time in this sport. For all we know, come this time next week we'll be talking about Notre Dame and Stanford losses, an Alabama-Georgia game for a National Championship berth, Oregon reentering the conversation for the No. 2 ranking and Florida State turning heads after beating the Gators.
But for now, the Fighting Irish sit atop the college football world. If you saw that coming, I'd like to take you to Vegas for a money-making weekend.
Here are the full rankings in this week's USA Today Coaches Poll:
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