Following Notre Dame’s road win at Oklahoma last week, we opined that “until this team shows they shouldn’t be taken seriously, they’ve earned the right to be.”
That still holds true. As long as Notre Dame keeps winning, they’ll be given respect — or, at least they should. The Irish almost blew it in a big way today against Pitt, but found a way to win once again. For three quarters, it looked like the Panthers were going to play BCS spoilers again — 2007 in Morgantown, anyone? — and derail Notre Dame’s undefeated season. Instead, Paul Chryst‘s team got inexplicably conservative and Notre Dame found some offensive rhythm. The result was 13 straight unanswered points and Notre Dame took Pitt into overtime tied at 20.
After some a pair of field goals in the first overtime, Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood fumbled in the end zone and Pitt missed its second field goal attempt. Irish QB Everett Golson then snuck in for a 1-yard touchdown to give No. 4 Notre Dame a 29-26 win. For another week, the Irish are still perfect despite playing anything but.
Now, Notre Dame can sit back and watch the other three undefeated BCS championship contenders play tonight in hopes that one or more of them will fall. Oregon is currently leading USC 34-17 in the second quarter and the Trojans haven’t been able to slow down the Ducks so far. USC, obviously, is a common opponent for both Oregon and Notre Dame (the Irish come to L.A. later this month), so how each game plays out will be interesting to watch.
But it ultimately comes down to the bodies of work, and Oregon has the strongest schedule in the final month of the season. The BCS computer averages currently like Notre Dame and Kansas State, but if Oregon keeps winning, its computer average should rise to match the love the Ducks are feeling from the voters.
K-State also has a common opponent with Notre Dame in Oklahoma. The Wildcats and the Irish were impressive in their respective wins in Norman this year.
Realistically, Notre Dame needs two undefeated teams to lose between now and the beginning of December. While a BCS championship between, say, Alabama and Notre Dame would get the highest TV ratings and be a dream match-up, the Irish just aren’t going to Miami without some help along the way.