The Irish stand at 8-0. They have wins over Oklahoma, Michigan and Stanford. Notre Dame has done it with a relentless defense and strong running game on offense. This formula has worked at every level of football since they began to put air in the ball. It is what has made Alabama successful under head coach Nick Saban the last four years. All the Tide has done is won two national championships in the last three years.
Notre Dame’s style of play is not pretty. Many of their games are close, because of it. This means that they will not get the same respect as an Oregon or Kansas State which put up a ton of points and blows out their opponents. Oregon and Kansas State have not been seriously challenged this season and deserve their top five rankings.
However, let us not forget that the West Virginia Mountaineers were crushing people early also. Their offense was considered to be unstoppable and though they were suspect defensively many had them as a favorite to win the Big XII. Then West Virginia went up against Kansas State. The Wildcats exposed the Mountaineers defense and crushed them.
Notre Dame may lose a game or two before the season is over, but they will not be blown out. Their style of play will keep them in every game no matter who they play. If a team is going to beat the Irish they had better play solid defense, be patient on offense and not make mistakes. In other words, they will have to play Notre Dame’s style of football.
The remainder of the Irish schedule is favorable. Their only real challenge seems to be the USC Trojans at the end of November. Despite their disappointing 6-2 record, the Trojans are a talented bunch which could give Notre Dame trouble. The problem with USC is that they have not been able to play with consistency and commit too many penalties. The Trojans lack of discipline will be exploited by the Irish.
An undefeated Notre Dame could get the nod over Kansas State and Oregon in the BCS polls. The Irish have that much clout. As the season progresses and Notre Dame continues to win there will be a clamor for them to meet Alabama or whoever is undefeated in the championship game. It will be hard for any poll to keep the Irish out of the number two spot.
So far Notre Dame has answered the bell in every challenge given to them. Whether it was Michigan, Stanford or Oklahoma they have gotten it done.
With four weeks to go in 2012 there is a good chance that the Irish could finish the season undefeated.