College Football: 10 Reasons why Notre Dame is not Championship Material
10 Reasons why Notre Dame Shouldn't be in the National Title Hunt
Notre Dame is off to the best start the school has seen in more than a decade and the 9-0 start could end up 12-0 if things fall their way, but I don’t think they should be in the national title game.
The Fighting Irish are having a terrific season and even the most ardent fan of the team could not have envisioned this type of season when you looked at the schedule at the beginning of the season and a redshirt freshman starting at quarterback.
The season started with suspensions to last year’s starting quarterback and the leading rusher of a year ago when Tommy Rees and Cierre Wood were suspended for one and two games apiece. In addition they lost one of their prized defensive ends when Aaron Lynch transferred. Lynch was a freshman All-American selection last season and was counted on being a big contributor to the Irish front four.
When the games started in September, Notre Dame traveled across the pond to take on Navy, and the 50 points scored gave reason for optimism in South Bend, In but still you had to wonder if they were just beating up on a weak team or if this team could finally return to prominence.
Two months later and Notre Dame still has not lost a game has a Heisman contender in Manti Te’o and still has its fair share of skeptics and wonder if this team is championship material and if they deserve a spot in the BCS National Championship Game Jan. 7 in Miami, Fl.
After 10 weeks of the college football season the Irish currently are ranked No. 4 in the BCS rankings behind defending champion Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon. Notre Dame has some work to do if they are to capture the first title since the glorious 1988 season when Heisman winner Tim Brown and company were crowned as the champs of college football.
Without further ado these are the top 10 reasons why Notre Dame should not be in the national title hunt.
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USC will beat Notre Dame
The Trojans have lost three times already on the season which is astonishing considering they were the No. 1 team to start the season. USC will be playing with a sense of desperation against one of their chief rivals when they travel to South Bend for the season finale. This is the best offense from top to bottom by far that Notre Dame will have faced all season and I don’t think USC will lose to the Irish.
Notre Dame Struggled at Home vs. Inferior Teams
I don’t think you can be a national title contender when you barely beat Purdue, BYU and Pittsburgh. Notre Dame needed a late drive to get a game winning field goal in the win at home vs. Purdue. They played poorly for three quarters before surviving with another three-point win against the Cougars.
However, the three overtimes needed to beat Pittsburgh 29-26, who has lost to Youngstown State, after a miraculous comeback to force overtime and then a missed chip shot field goal by the Panthers opened the door for another three-point win.
Notre Dame Got Lucky vs. Stanford
Let’s face it; Notre Dame has been lucky fairly often this season. The referees have been giving Notre Dame favorable calls all season long, especially at home, and the goal line call to end the game vs. Stanford is one that I still have yet to see a replay when Stephan Taylor didn’t break the plane before the whistle is blown.
I’ve heard people say they would rather be lucky than good, but you need to be good and a little lucky to get into the top two in the BCS, and at some point the luck of the Irish is bound to run out.
Offense is Average
Everett Golson has had some nice moments in his first year as the starting quarterback, but the redshirt freshman has also been pulled from multiple games this season. The lack of a dominant offense ultimately is the Achilles heel of the 2012 Notre Dame team and could be the reason why they are left out in the cold of the BCS National Championship Game.
Alabama Keeps Winning
Alabama is the No. 1 team in the BCS rankings for the fourth straight week and just passed their hardest test with a win at LSU. For Notre Dame to get consideration for a spot in the top two Alabama would have to lose and it just doesn’t look like that is going to happen. I wonder if a one-loss Alabama team would still be ranked above an undefeated Notre Dame squad.
Kansas State has Collin Klein
The Wildcats may have the Heisman trophy winner at quarterback and Collin Klein is a player that many will want to see in the national title game. Notre Dame doesn’t have a sexy player on offense that will tantalize viewers in the way Klein will.
Furthermore, Kansas State is No. 2 in the rankings and has beaten three ranked teams in a row and should be able to coast through the rest of their schedule before the season finale against Texas. The game on the final weekend of college football will be one that Klein will try to clinch the Heisman and a chance to impress voters with a big win over a ranked team with a lot of national recognition.
Oregon Has Better Resume
Oregon is the team that many want to see in a game against Alabama to see how their impressive offense would stack up against the top ranked defense of the Crimson Tide. Chip Kelly’s Ducks have been scoring points at will on opposing defenses and have the style points that some voters look for when determining the top teams in the country.
Oregon bypassed Notre Dame this weekend after a 62-51 win over USC, and have two games against ranked teams and a potential Pac 12 championship game to distance them from Notre Dame.
Notre Dame Schedule Not as Strong as it Once Appeared
When the schedule for 2012 was released it appeared that Notre Dame was playing a difficult schedule, but as the season progressed that was not the case. Wins over Michigan and Michigan State who were ranked 10th and 18th at the time have a combined record of 11-8.
The win over Stanford may take a hit as well if the Cardinal fall to Oregon State this weekend and to Oregon later in the season giving the Cardinal four losses on the season, and if Notre Dame beats USC that will give the Trojans four losses as well.
No Conference Affiliation
Not playing a conference championship game like Alabama and Oregon figure to be playing in against ranked teams will hurt the team at the end of the season trying to make one last push into the top two of the BCS rankings and boost their strength of schedule.
Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick may regret not joining a conference earlier, even in a partial move like this move to the ACC, had he joined earlier his school’s football team would be playing in a conference championship game with a chance to boost their title resume, but now can only sit at home and hope for an upset and sneak in the back door.
No Style Points
Unlike the teams ranked ahead of them in the BCS, the Notre Dame team wins ugly. Their best player is a middle linebacker, and while Manti Te’o is a phenomenal talent and a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman trophy, they win this season without any style points.
Alabama has a win over LSU and a history of being in the national spotlight and the SEC is recognized as the preeminent conference in college football.
Kansas State has the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman trophy in Collin Klein and plays in the Big 12 who only has one team with a losing record. If they get through their season undefeated, they will have beaten five ranked teams, including a TCU team that had been ranked inside the top 20 this season before losing their quarterback.
Oregon scores more points than any team in the nation with more than 54 points per game and have set an FBS record with nine straight games with 42 or more points scored. They have been on the national stage recently having won the Rose Bowl last year and losing to Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game two years ago.