Notre Dame Football: Irish Still a Top-15 Team Despite Record?

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Notre Dame Football: Irish Still a Top-15 Team Despite Record?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
After a 31-17 home loss to USC, College Football News ranked Notre Dame No. 14 in the nation. and College Football News are both part of Fox Sports. In this week's College Football News poll, Notre Dame is ranked No. 14.

Notre Dame (4-3) is ranked ahead of No. 15 Michigan State (6-1), No. 16 Wisconsin (6-1), No. 17 Boise State (7-0) and No. 18 Michigan (6-1).

They're also ranked ahead of No. 21 South Carolina (6-1) and No. 24 Penn State (7-1).

The top five are No. 1 LSU (8-0), No. 2 Alabama (8-0), No. 3 Stanford (7-0), No. 4 Oregon(6-1) and No. 5 Oklahoma State (7-0).

About the poll: College Football News ranks the teams on how good they believe they are at the present. 

You Are What Your Record Says you Are

Let's take a look at Notre Dame's 2011 record: The Irish have one stellar win against Michigan State, 31-13. If not for the blemish the Irish put on Michigan State's record, the Spartans would be top 10 or better.

The Irish squeaked past 3-4 Pittsburgh, 15-12. They defeated a Purdue team that has improved over the last few weeks, 38-10. They also beat a 3-4 Air Force team 59-33.

The Irish lost their opener to USF at home, 23-20. USF is suffering a free fall and has lost their last three games. They are 0-3 in the Big East.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
USC's Matt Barkley insinuated that Notre Dame quit in the final minutes of last Saturday night's game.

One week later the Irish fell apart on the road against Michigan in the final minutes and lost 35-31.

Last week the Irish lost at home, 31-17 to USC, in a game which they were favored to win by nine points.

The Coaches' Poll rated the Irish No. 40 this week. They are not listed in the BCS rankings or in the top 40 of the AP rankings.

Is it a Bias or Just Wishful thinking?

When College Football News ranks Notre Dame No. 14, it makes most college football fans wonder: Is it a bias in favor of the Irish, or just wishful thinking by a misinformed rating service?

One has to wonder why the highly regarded college football analyst Phil Steele ranked the Irish No. 6 in his preseason rankings.

After three years ('08 to '10) of ranking the Irish in his preseason top 25, Steele couldn't help himself. He ranked them No. 6 over so many more deserving teams.

Athlon also ranked Notre Dame at No. 6 in their preseason poll.

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