Why not the Irish?
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of a building, collective hatred aimed toward South Bend.
Notre Dame haters are apoplectic with the Irish sitting at 6-0 and off to its best start since 2002.
Some say that the Irish don’t deserve the accolades. And that they don’t deserve a No. 5 ranking in the BCS.
To that I say, Why not?
The Irish front seven on defense are as good as any team not named Alabama.
Their secondary, though young, has forced turnovers at key times.
The offensive line is veteran and dependable.
They have a solid, if not above average, run game.
The wide receivers aren’t heralded enough. And Tyler Eifert is the best tight end in the country.
The only question mark comes at quarterback. And I admit that’s a big question mark. But you can compete in college football with an average QB.
The Irish are ranked higher than every team on their schedule for the rest of the season.
Their toughest tests lie when they travel to Norman, Okla. next week to take on the Sooners and when they end the season on the road against Southern Cal.
But unlike years past, those are both games Notre Dame can win.
And if they do, they deserve to play in the National Championship.
This may be a down year for college football. The Big Ten is atrocious. Teams like USC and Florida State haven’t lived up to expectations. So maybe it’s just a perfect storm that allows Notre Dame to step up.
But I have some bad news for all the Domer doubters out there. This isn’t a one-off season.
ND is back.
Brian Kelly has proven he can recruit top-five classes like Chuckles Weis. But unlike Chaz, Kelly can actually coach them up.
Upgraded facilities, the University’s willingness to allow early enrollees and a move to the ACC will only help bring back the luster to the Golden Dome.
So while it always important to manage expectations, a shot at a national championship this year is no longer far-fetched.