Notre Dame is for real.

Notre Dame is for real.
Golson will rejoin the Fighting Irish in 2014

Even though the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team currently has an undefeated record, there are still some who question whether or not they are a serious contender.

Well this journalist can tell you personally that they are the real deal in 2012. I can also tell you why I think they are serious contenders.

For starters, they are currently ranked as the second best defense in the FBS {Div. 1-A}. The Irish have only allowed 12 points in their last three games combined.

On the offensive side, they have scored 20 or more points four times this year. While head coach Brian Kelly presents a spread offense, the Irish bring a balanced approach when it comes to scoring points.

They bring a solid rushing attack to the table. Between Theo Reddick, Cierre Wood, George Atkinson, Cam McDaniel, and an occasional scramble by Everett Golson,  Notre Dame averages nearly 190 rushing yards per game.

As a team, the Irish have already ran for 937 yards on the season. Despite his off-the-field mishaps, Everett Golson has still managed to prove himself as one of the leaders of this Fighting Irish team.

Golson is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in college football today. I was in the press box at Soldier Field when they destroyed the Miami Hurricanes last week.

Perhaps this is a sign of things to come once they begin their annual five game ACC schedule in the near future. For anyone who watched that game, it's hard not to take the Irish seriously after their dominance against Miami.

I think it's a shame that they still haven't cracked the top five in the polls. When you consider the victory over Miami, followed by the losses by Georgia, LSU, and Florida State, it boggles my mind that they can't get ahead.

For example: No. 5 West Virginia has only beaten three BCS schools, two of which were ranked in the top 25. Notre Dame has beaten four BCS schools thus far. One of them was ranked in the top 10, and the other in the top 20.

Looking down the line, West Virginia only plays two top 25 teams later in the season. Notre Dame plays three top 25 teams looking forward.

Sure No. 4 Florida has the big upset over LSU, but they only play two more top 25 teams down the stretch. They also play two FCS {Div. 1-AA} teams in November.

The Irish play four BCS schools in November. While I believe that it's too early to call them a national championship contender, they definitely deserve to be called a BCS contender.

But at the moment, they deserve to be ranked in the top five. The Fighting Irish will have their hands full when Stanford comes to South Bend this Saturday.

The 4-1 Cardinal will be looking to ruin the hopes of the Golden Domers by beating them on their own field. Notre Dame has not defeated Stanford since 2008.

I'm sure Brian Kelly has reminded his team of this and I am positive that he will motivate them to defend their home turf and break the losing streak.

But it will not be easy, Stanford is also capable of scoring over 20 points. Their defense will also present a challenge to Everett Golson and the Notre Dame offense.

Just like Notre Dame, Stanford runs a 3-4 defense. But the difference between the two is that Stanford likes to blitz. They will bring linebackers, they will bring safeties, they will do everything they can to pressure Golson.

Notre Dame's offensive line and defense will have the biggest tasks ahead of them this weekend. If the Irish can break their losing streak against the Cardinal, they will without a doubt earn a spot in the top five.

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