I know the USC Trojans didn't have Matt Barkley on Saturday, but you have to give Notre Dame their due after finishing the regular season undefeated. Going into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—in the biggest game of the year—the Irish stepped up on both sides of the ball.
Their 22-13 victory over USC was legit.
The Irish defense and running game is for real—whether they will be able to run the ball against an SEC defense remains to be seen. I still think they will lose to any of the top three teams in the SEC, but they do deserve to play for the national championship.
After Saturday's games, three other teams gave performances that proved their mettle.
The Gators look like at least the second-best team in the SEC. They did lose to Georgia 17-9 on October 27, but what they did to Florida St. on Saturday was impressive.
The Gators ran the ball for 244 yards and three touchdowns against the No. 1 run defense in the nation. With an ultra-athletic defense and a running game that has averaged 210 yards against Florida State and LSU, the Gators are one of the toughest in the country.
Alabama is probably happy Georgia knocked off Florida.
The Bulldogs came into their matchup with Georgia Tech struggling to stop the run. They are still having their issues, allowing 306 yards on the ground to the Yellow Jackets.
They were ranked just 52nd in the nation in rushing defense coming into the game, and that ranking fell to 69th.
The Yellow Jackets have the best rushing offense in the nation, but the Bulldogs still found a way to force two turnovers in routing the Yellow Jackets, 42-10. Their run defense is the reason why many people don't give them a shot to defeat Alabama.
However, they did beat Florida, and they continue to come up big when they have to.
The Cardinal have one of the most underrated defenses in the nation. They held UCLA to just 17 points at the Rose Bowl Stadium on Saturday. Of all the teams in the nation that no team wants to play, the Cardinal would be close to the top of the list.
Were it not for a four-point loss at Washington, the Cardinal would be firmly in the national championship picture.
As far as the eyeball test goes, this is a top-five team.
Here are the complete BCS Rankings for Week 14:
|25||San Jose State||10-2|
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