After two straight wins over Boston College and Pittsburgh, there seems to be a much more optimistic outlook on the future of Notre Dame football and Brian Kelly.
With the last two wins, the Irish are now in great position to be bowl eligible in what seemed to be a rebuilding year.
However, a 9-3 record at the end of the season would have Notre Dame fans walking away from the year with great enthusiasm for the future of this football program.
Is that a legitimate possibility though?
Next week Western Michigan comes to town in what should be an easy win before traveling to New Jersey to face Navy. Navy shows a better threat with their use of the triple option, but again, they should be able to handle the Midshipmen.
Then, the Irish look to roll onto a five-game winning streak when Tulsa comes to town for a rare visit to South Bend.
Tulsa is another team that Notre Dame should have no problem with and should take care of easily.
After the bye week, though, is when the challenges begin to surface. On Nov. 13, the Utes of Utah will make the trip to South Bend in what should be a very competitive game between two good football teams.
In the latest poll, Utah is ranked at the 11 spot, and for good reason. They have easily handled their competition up to this point, including a win over BCS schools Pittsburgh and Iowa State.
Before traveling to Notre Dame, they have two very tough games in a row. In Week Eight, they play the No. 25 ranked Air Force team, followed by a great matchup against the No. 5 team in the country, TCU.
After those two battles, the Irish and the rest of the nation will know a lot more about Utah than they do now. Those will be the turning points for Utah no matter what the outcome is.
Army is the next game after Utah which will be played at the new Yankee Stadium. It will be a great experience for all the Irish and Army players, and even the fans attending the game. Notre Dame should be able to handle them and come back with a win.
Finally, the last game of the season is perhaps the most important one for Notre Dame this season. When the Irish take on the Trojans, it is going to be a very tough, competitive football game like this rivalry always is.
While they have struggled with USC in the past, this year is a winnable game for Notre Dame. The Trojans are currently 4-2, coming off of two very close losses to Washington and Stanford.
All of these games are within reach for Notre Dame to win. A 9-3 record isn't just a dream that Irish fans are hoping to happen. This could very well happen.
And, with all the doubting that went on after the 1-3 start, a 9-3 finish would do wonders for the Notre Dame faithful as they look forward to the Brian Kelly era to continue.
Published on Sports Haze, one stop site for all the latest sports news. http://www.sportshaze.com/notre-dame-mid-season-report-can-the-irish-run-the-table-to-finish-9-3/