SOUTH BEND — Is BYU coming to town or BC?
Serious Notre Dame football fans know that the first time ESPN’s College Gameday aired from a college campus, it was in South Bend for the Florida State-ND game in 1993. That game, won by the Irish, determined the No. 1 team in the country — at least for a week. The very next Saturday, Boston College paid a visit and stunned the Irish, upsetting ND and making the stay at the top of the polls a short one.
On the heels of last week’s overtime win over top-20 Stanford, backed by the hoopla surrounding another Gameday visit, will BYU pull the stunner and upset undefeated and fifth-ranked Irish?
Not likely, but ND cannot look past the Cougars. Notre Dame’s defense has been spectacular and the main reason for the team’s success this year. They are 11th nationally, allowing around 287 yards per game. BYU however, allows just 261 and is fifth nationally, albeit against lesser competition. The Cougars’ strength is stopping the run, not so much the pass. Ironically, ND may be forced to start its designated “thrower” at quarterback, Tommy Rees, since Everett Golson is still suffering the effects of a concussion from the Stanford game. Advantage ND. Home game. Advantage ND. BYU is one of the worst in turnover margin, the Irish one of the best. Advantage ND.
Notre Dame should move to 7-0 this Saturday, but let’s stop the premature chirping about a BCS bowl, a national championship, and Heisman trophies. Oklahoma looms large in a week. If I’m not mistaken, USC is still on the schedule. Both of those games say “Away” next to them and will be followed by an L.
As far as a BCS bowl game, who do you want to play? Bama? You kidding? In fact, check off any SEC school right now. That takes care of Nos. 1 (Alabama), 3 (Florida), 6 (LSU), 7 (S. Carolina), 11 (Georgia), and 12 (Miss. St.). I don’t think you want any part of Oregon or even Oregon State, so there goes Nos. 2 and 9. The Irish will get their shot at Nos. 8 (Oklahoma) and 10 (USC). Kansas State? They are No. 5 and beat Oklahoma. Don’t think so. That brings us to West Virginia. They have the leading Heisman candidate in QB Geno Smith so that is intriguing. We’ll find out how good they really are when they play K State this weekend, but they are No. 13 and NOT in the BCS alignment.
Leave ND alone. Back off the crazy talk. Just enjoy a 10-2 year and a bowl game against West Virginia — or Louisville. Calm Down Like a Champion.