Monday, November 12, 2012

Notre Dame Not Getting the Respect They Deserve

At 10-0 Notre Dame is among only three teams still undefeated. If all three remain unbeaten, Notre Dame would likely be left out of the National Title game and it would be between Kansas State and Oregon. Now the fact that there are only two weeks left in the regular season and Notre Dame is still in the National Title discussion already makes this season a huge success. Having said that, I am not sure why the pollsters seem to think that what Notre Dame has done is somehow less impressive than the other two teams.

I am not taking anything away from Kansas State or Oregon or a one loss SEC champ (whomever that is) for that matter. They have taken care of their business and deserve to be in the title game. What I have a bit of a problem with is this notion by the experts that they deserve it more than Notre Dame.

Currently in the BCS standings, Kansas State is #1, Oregon is #2, and Notre Dame is #3. Let's look at the Wildcats first. While they are worthy of being #1, they have played two common opponents with Notre Dame. That being Miami and Oklahoma. They beat the Hurricanes by 39 points and the Irish beat them by 38 (not much of a difference). However, Notre Dame beat the Sooners by 17 points and the Wildcats were a play away from losing. In fact, they got lucky with an unforced turnover that made a difference.

Therefore, that is a case for Notre Dame to be higher than Kansas State.

Now let's look at the Ducks. So far there have no common opponents, but they will play Stanford this week and the Fighting Irish will end at USC. That will give us a clearer picture, but until then all we have is numbers. I won't lie. Oregon has very impressive numbers. They are averaging 54.8 points a game. They have gone over 50 points seven times, over 60 points three times, and scored 70 once. There is no doubt that is impressive.

But here is the question that I would love answered. Is all that more impressive than a team that gives up an average of 11.1 points a game. Take away their one off week against Pittsburgh and that average is 9.4. The Fighting Irish went an entire month without giving up a touchdown. They have only surrendered two rushing touchdowns all year and 8 total. Oregon would give that up in two games.

Therefore, it is hard to say who is better at this point. There is still a lot of football to be played. Kansas State still has to play Texas. Notre Dame has to take care of business against Wake Forest and then USC. Oregon perhaps has the toughest road as they play Stanford before traveling to in state rival Oregon State. If they win those games, they will face either UCLA or USC (again) in the PAC-12 title game.  All of those teams are currently ranked in the top 20 in the BCS.

The bottom line is that whether it is fair or not, Notre Dame will need to remain unbeaten and needs one of the other teams to lose. Therefore, the best thing The Fighting Irish can do is just continue to play solid football and let all that other stuff take care of itself. Like Coach Brian Kelly said, "If we don't beat Wake Forest, none of it matters." 

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