Notre Dame is 1 of the Country's 2 Best Teams, Should Play for a National Championship


I am watching the boys on ESPNU during the BCS Countdown show and here's how the conversation goes regarding the first three teams in the BCS rankings. They are discussing how Notre Dame is clearly not one or two and you get the feeling maybe they believe that they don't even deserve to be number three.

Jesse Palmer starts, "I do think it is very interesting that Notre Dame shares two comment opponents with both Kansas State and Oregon. Notre Dame and Kansas State have both beaten Miami and Oklahoma. Oregon and Notre Dame will have both played Stanford and USC by the time the season is over. When it is all said and done and the dust is settled if all three teams are unbeaten I think that's a tool that voters can use to compare and evaluate these three teams against each other." Yet he decides not to take his own advice.

David Pollack adds speaking of Notre Dame, "They haven't been dominant period. Who have they dominated?" Later he adds, " Do I love their defense, yes. I think Notre Dame presents the biggest challenge to Oregon if they got in the championship game."

Maybe the show is just too short for them to further the conversation and maybe I am still in election mode so let's do a bit of fact checking for them.

Notre Dame         41        Kansas State     52
Miami                     3        Miami                 13
In Chicago                       In Manhattan, KS

Notre Dame        30        Kansas State        24
Oklahoma            13        Oklahoma             19
In Norman, OK               In Norman, OK

Is 41 to 3 not dominant? Is 52 to 13 more dominant? Not if you are looking at the defense I guess. Who played better against Oklahoma? I haven't taken math in a while but I still remember a 30 to 13 score beats a 24 to 19 score. For the record Notre Dame has dominated Navy, Michigan State, Miami, Oklahoma and Boston College. Yes, we are talking about defensive domination. The BC game was never in doubt.

Now Kansas State has been pretty dominant as well. But you cannot convince me as the boys on ESPNU will suggest that a 23 to 10 victory over TCU is somehow way more dominant than a 21 to 3 victory over BC over this past weekend.

Kansas State has not had to sweat any games out but I agree with Jesse 100%. The only fair way to compare two teams who have not played each other is to look at the results against shared opponents. We just did and under those guidelines Notre Dame is a better team than Kansas State. The computers do have Notre Dame as number one and I am sure that ranking is a reflection of this simple shared opponent logic.

Now we will have the opportunity over the next few weeks to see how Oregon and Notre Dame stack up against each other using the same shared opponents logic. You would think Oregon would have an advantage with a big win and a lot of points against Stanford. But what about a potential 20 to 10 Notre Dame victory over USC. In this scenario Oregon dominates a common opponent on offense but Notre Dame dominates on defense.

Oregon gave up 51 points to USC. That's right, 51 point to a team with two other losses. Oregon is certainly the most dominant offensive team in the country, maybe over the past decade, maybe ever. But no team that gives up 51 points in a game should be crowned champion before all the games are played or before they play a team with a dominating defense. And who might have the most dominating defense in college football this year? Oh yeah, Notre Dame.

Wirtten by Steve Wright for

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