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NCAA Football Independent FootballNotre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Silence Critics, Earn BCS Respect

Brian Kelly Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Matthew Emmons-US Presswire

I’m eating crow this morning. A big plate of it. I’ll be honest, it doesn’t taste very good. Last night the Notre Dame Fighting Irish proved to me, and their harshest critics, the Golden Domers are back. A stunning 30-13 win in Norman against the Oklahoma Sooners was the shot across the bow of the college football landscape.

The Irish are for real.

I doubted the Irish offensive ability to outscore a complete football team on the road. I was wrong. Notre Dame saved their best performance of the season for when it mattered most; a top 10 opponent on the national stage.

Quarterback Everett Golson wasn’t overly spectacular. Looking at the box score you would be hard pressed to find any flashy numbers of last night’s win. What you will find is the most important number of all, and that is the number zero. In a hostile environment the Irish offense stayed calm, cool, and collected committing no turnovers.

Conversely, the Sooners were repeatedly frustrated when they found the endzone as elusive as a greased pig. From the opening kick to the final whistle, Notre Dame made Oklahoma play their game.

My critique was pointed before these two met. I did not believe the Irish, especially on offense, could repeatedly sustain long drives and keep the ball away from Landry Jones. I knew the Irish D was excellent, but could they keep the score close for four quarters? Yes they could.

If Notre Dame can avoid a let down over the next three weeks, college football fans will be rewarded with a showdown November 24 in the Coliseum with an undefeated Irish squad playing the USC Trojans.

If the Irish run the table, and have road wins in Norman and L.A., voters will be hard pressed to ignore their resume.

Bullet points on paper aside, give Notre Dame credit for what they did last night in Oklahoma; pass the eyeball test. The Irish earned respect the old fashioned way by winning on the field. This team from South Bend will find themselves near the top of the BCS standings with a chance to play for a championship. Deserved.

Now excuse me while I finish my meal. There’s plenty of crow left on my plate.

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James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America. You can follow James on Twitter as well.