Is it too early to say that the Irish are back? Two big road wins to start off the year, the first time the Irish have done this since Knute Rockne was coach.
They have a godawful schedule, if they can get a bit of luck down the way, ND might be back in the short list for national champions.
On the flip side, congrats to ABC for hiring Tim McGraw to tailor the lyrics to "I like it, I love it" for every halftime highlight show throughout the "Monday Night Football" season. Just last week, my buddy House and I were discussing Cosell's classic highlight narratives in the '70s, and how nobody had approached them since, and I told House, "Only one thing could ever come close, and I know it's a long shot, but what if ABC hired Tim McGraw to tailor the lyrics to 'I Like it, I Love It' for each week of NFL highlights throughout the season?" And wouldn't you know, it happened! See, dreams can come true. --- Bill Simmons, www.sportsguy.net
If they had next season's schedule, they would be in much better shape. The optimist viewpoint: Beat Michigan State at home, go to Washington and win, and somehow survive on Saturday night against Purdue. That means 5-0 with a week off before playing USC. Build the Trojan Horse from '77, hope for the worst weather imaginable and hope to get lucky. If somehow they get past USC, they get a revenge game against BYU at home. They then get a week off before playing a Top 5 team in Tennessee at home. Things break right, they win that game, they then get Navy at home, Syracuse at home, and Stanford on the road. Now, they have beaten Navy every year since '63, but Navy has played them extremely tough in South Bend for the last 8 years. Under the scenario where they would get to Navy unbeaten, they would be ripe for a letdown game. Now, have I deluded myself into thinking the Irish are back and payback is on the way for USC? Sure. I mean, I thought the only chance they had against Michigan was to get the game into the high 30's and hope for a break, so, if they can keep Michigan out of the end zone in Ann Arbor for 55 minutes, anything is possible.
For ND to get this bonus, they'd have to get 9 wins without being ranked high enough in the BCS (which seems unlikely how quickly people are to pat them on the back for 2 wins) and someone like Utah, Fresno State, or Army would have to clinch a birth. It's a highly unlikely set of events (though those kind of things seems to be happening with the BCS.)
I don't know if this was confirmed as still in for the new format that starts Next Year.
Originally posted by drjayphdAren't they automatically given a BCS berth at a certain number of wins? If it's eight, I can see it. Ten might be problematic, but they'll be in the mix unless two teams rudely eject them.
I don't think that there's any connection to wins. If they're in the Final BCS top 8, they get a berth. If they're in the Final BCS top 12, they're "considered," and it would shock me if they didn't get one of the two at-larges.
1) If a non-BCS school finishes in the Top 6, then Notre Dame is guaranteed of being selected as long as they A) have 9 wins (which is what you need to be BCS eligible) or B) are in the Top 10 of the BCS rankings.
So if Notre Dame would have had either of those happen last year, they would have been in (because Utah was), and Texas would have been on the outside looking in.
That rule is switching to the Top 12 for the bowl games after the 2006 regular season. I haven't heard any word on if Notre Dame still gets that special treatment.
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As a life-long Irish fan, I'd love to say I think they're back. But frankly even I find it ludicrous that they're number 10 in the polls after two early wins, even if those wins were against Pitt and Michigan.
I think Notre Dame is certainly on the right track and the Charlie Weis hiring was brilliant, but I expect we'll see the team struggle a little more past the midpoint of the season when they're playing teams that are as confident and well-prepared as they are.
I am definitely looking forward to the next few years of Notre Dame fandom, though...
AFC 1. NY Jets (8-2) East leader, beat NE 2. Baltimore (7-3) North leader, Beat Pitt, 3. Kansas City (6-4) West leader, beat Jacksonville 4. Jacksonville (6-4) South leader, beat Indy 5. New England (8-2) lost to NY Jets 6. Pittsburgh (7-3)