With the college football season in full swing we find Notre Dame 2-0 and attracting attention getting 4 votes in the most recent AP poll. What has Notre Dame showed us after 2 games, are they a respectable bowl contender or are they just putting on a temporary show?
Well the Irish came limping out of the gates narrowly beating San Diego State by 8 points, a team they probably should have walked all over. What makes that game even tougher to judge is the fact that the Irish showed up to play in the 4th quarter and what they left the game with was pretty impressive. So then lets look at their game against Michigan at home. Any time these two teams meet you can bet the stakes are high and the bad blood will show, even if both teams are unranked and coming off forgettable seasons. Notre Dame picked up where they left off in this game capitalizing on Michigan's turn-overs. Notre Dame would walk out with a 35-17 victory, impressive indeed except that Michigan outplayed them on offense in terms of moving the ball down the field, had Michigan played a cleaner game and not turned the ball over as much how would the game have played out? We don't know.
Ok so Notre Dame is 2-0 and feeling pretty good about themselves right about now. I guess it is time to get out the Chips 'n Dip and start talking about what fantastic Bowl game the Golden Domers will make this year right? Well actually that statement may be true but it comes with a catch. The catch is that Notre Dame has one of the easiest schedules in recent school history and there are only a handful of games that would present a challenge to a mid-level team. Sure there's the UNC game, but how good are they really? They beat McNesse State by 8 points, can anyone tell me who plays for McNeese State? So that game is a toss up in terms of how good UNC really is. Then we have Pitt which could be fairly rough game in Pitt comes in thinking spoiler alert on ND.
What are we looking at now, Notre Dame could go into their final game against USC 11-0 theoretically but lets be fair and say they go in either 10-1 or 9-2. At this time Notre Dame will probably be ranked high in the polls and talks will be swirling about how Notre Dame could upset USC, and they could, but in all likely hood they will get beaten and end their season with another loss to USC. So what kind of bowl game does that leave the Irish looking at? I would say their headed toward a very respectable bowl game considering how last year went but hold on now, here's where that catch comes into play. Being a Notre Dame fan myself, and a rather big one at that, I want to see them win and perform well but a very plausible scenario is that in Notre Dame running through their easy schedule racking up wins and making a bowl game they might be pitted against a team like Utah, WVU, Florida State, or Oregon (you get the point) that has a better team skill wise but also tougher schedule and so their losses may weigh them down a bit. If the matchup goes something like that then Notre Dame will have to play at their highest level to expect a close game otherwise they will get walked all over and sent back home.
Good luck to the Irish and I will be following very closely, but I will also be following the standings of possible bowl game opponents before I start bragging to my friends.