Notre Dame Stays Undefeated: So What?

Notre Dame Stays Undefeated: So What?

Saturday's dominant win at Oklahoma was arguably the biggest victory for the Fighting Irish since Lou Holtz left campus.

Notre Dame moved to 8-0 on the season, Manti Te'o further forced his name into the Heisman Trophy conversation, and the conversation surrounding the Irish will now shift from "Are they for real?" to "Are they a national title contender?"

Saturday was a big day for Notre Dame outside of Oklahoma as well. They got a lot of help - both directly and indirectly - as they continue climbing the BCS standings.

Here's how the BCS Top 15 performed on Saturday:

1. Alabama - Won 38-7 vs. #11 Mississippi State
2. Florida - LOST 17-9 vs. #10 Georgia
3. Kansas State - Won vs. #14 Texas Tech 55-24
4. Oregon - Won vs. Colorado 70-14
5. Notre Dame - Won at #8 Oklahoma 30-13
6. LSU - bye
7. Oregon State -late game
8. Oklahoma - LOST vs. #5 Notre Dame
9. USC - LOST vs. Arizona 39-36
10. Georgia - Won vs. #2 Florida
11. Mississippi St - LOST vs. #1 Alabama
12. Florida State - Won vs. Duke 48-7
13. South Carolina - Won vs. Tennessee 38-35
14. Texas Tech - LOST at #3 Kansas State
15. Rutgers - LOST to Kent State 35-23

With one of the teams in front of them - Florida - losing on Saturday, Notre Dame can expect to be among the top four teams in the new BCS rankings on Sunday.

But those fun computer rankings take a lot into account. One of those factors is how Notre Dame's opponents perform, which made Saturday's results even more interesting.

Navy (5-3) - Won at East Carolina 56-28
Purdue (3-5) - LOST at Minnesota 44-38
Michigan State (5-4) - Won at #25 Wisconsin 16-13
#22 Michigan (5-3) - LOST at Nebraska 23-9
Miami (FL) (4-4) - bye
#17 Stanford (6-2) - Won vs. Washington State 24-17
BYU (5-4) - Won at Georgia tech 41-17
Pitt (4-4) - Won vs. Temple 47-17
Boston College (2-6) - Won vs. Maryland 20-17
Wake Forest (4-4) - LOST vs. #18 Clemson 42-13
#9 USC (6-2) - LOST to Arizona 39-36

What does this mean?

Notre Dame's opponents, thru Saturday, have a .544 win percentage and only two - Purdue and Boston College - are under .500 on the year. Oregon's opponents, thru Saturday, have a .547 win percentage, but three or their opponents - Tennessee Tech, Washington State and Colorado - are under .500 this season.

Oklahoma became the fourth team to lose to Notre Dame while ranked in the top-20 in the nation. By comparison, Oregon has not defeated a team that was ranked in the nation's top-20 at the time; Arizona was #22 and Washington was #23 when they lost to Oregon. Oregon's game against in-state rival Oregon State could be enormous if the Beavers are still in the top 10 when they meet.

The common denominator between Oregon and Notre Dame will be USC. Unfortunately, USC losses to both Oregon and Notre Dame could be enough to push Kansas State into the championship game.

Kansas State has played three teams that were ranked in the nation's top 15 at the time - Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas Tech - and the wins against WVU and TT were blowouts (combined score: 110-38). With only one ranked team - a mediocre Texas squad - left on their schedule, Kansas State has the easiest road to the BCS title game right now.

Notre Dame is going to need some help to play in the BCS Championship Game. USC, Michigan and Michigan State will probably need to win out (with the obvious exception being USC losing to Notre Dame) for the Irish to have enough ammunition for the computers to slot them ahead of Kansas State at this point.

The wild card in this entire equation comes next weekend, when LSU plays Alabama. If Bama loses, the doors are wide open for Notre Dame to play for college's biggest prize.

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  • It's all so Byzantine to unravel. Still, It was a great victory for the Irish!

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