College Football Rankings Week 5: Does Notre Dame Deserve to Be Back in Poll?

Jayson LoveCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2011

Head coach Brian Kelly has Notre Dame gaining national attention again.
Head coach Brian Kelly has Notre Dame gaining national attention again.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

You could make a case that at 1-2, the Irish deserved to be voted in to last week's AP poll. 

Although they were embarrassed in their first game—by being nearly shut down by South Florida, and head coach Brian Kelly's sideline antics. Also losing a heart-breaker to Michigan in last-second fashion, their win over MSU last week was quite impressive.

Several teams already have used victories over top-25 opponents to vault into the polls.   The Bulls of South Florida themselves used the win over ND to find the polls.  Clemson made its way into the polls with a home win over Auburn last week and Illinois made its way in by beating a ranked Arizona State squad.

Notre Dame beat then No. 15 Michigan state in impressive fashion last week.

Although it would be strange to vote a 1-2 team into the top-25, you could have made a case for the Irish.  Their win was huge, their two losses were also not bad if you take a look at the polls.

USF was unranked when they beat the Irish, but now the Bulls are 4-0 and have a No.17 ranking.

The loss to Michigan was not only a wild loss on a freak play, but it was also a road loss to what is now a ranked Michigan team. 

The Wolverines are ranked No. 22 and probably moving up after winning again this week.

The Irish backed up their impressive win against Michigan State with a road win at Pittsburgh this week.  Digging deeper, the win highlighted the progression of Notre Dame's defense.

The two early-season losses featured defensive breakdowns.  The team surrendered 23 points to USF, and an even more glaring 33 against Michigan.

The defense broke down late in the game leaving gaping holes in the secondary, allowing Denard Robinson to embark on two quick drives, including the game-winner with two seconds left.

Over the past two games, Kelly and his staff have revamped the Notre Dame defense.

They were very impressive holding MSU to 13 points last week, and surrendered just 12 points to a good Pittsburgh team this week.

Now at .500 on the season, with a 2-2 record and two impressive wins with the latest coming on the road, the Irish deserve a top-25 ranking when the AP poll comes out today—especially when considering the two losses came in weeks 1 and 2 against teams that are undefeated and ranked.