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Notre Dame is NOT the Best Team in the Country

Mike Cardano Senior Fantasy Analyst November 19, 2012 7:16AM EDT

Notre Dame may be ranked No. 1, but they are NOT the best team in the country…

Things look pretty in South Bend this time of year, but they won't look this way in January...

In Sunday ‘s article about freshman Johnny Manziel vaulting to the top of the Heisman Trophy race amid all the BCS chaos that occurred this past Saturday, I spoke about the fact that I can’t see Notre Dame winning a national championship this season. Apparently in doing so I offended the Fighting Irish fan base.

Memo to Golden Dome loyalists…

Notre Dame may be the best independent team in the nation, but they aren’t better than any of the top conference affiliated teams that are in contention.

The Fighting Irish couldn’t possibly match up favorably in a BCS National Championship game against any of the contending SEC teams, Alabama (10-1), Georgia (10-1) or Florida (10-1), and they wouldn’t beat Oregon (10-1) either. To be honest, they aren’t better than many of the top teams in the country. While you could make an argument that they could possibly beat Kansas State (10-1), Florida State (10-1) or perhaps Clemson (10-1), they wouldn’t beat any of the first rate 9-2 teams on a neutral site. LSU, Texas A&M and Stanford are all better than they are.

And don’t give me that, “they already beat Stanford” bullshit. No they didn’t. Notre Dame played the Cardinal to a tie game on their home field and they were declared winners of the contest in overtime despite the fact that Stepfan Taylor scored. Let’s not let little things like facts get in the way of reality. Taylor crossed the goal line with the ball. If that game was played in Stanford instead of South Bend, it was a touchdown. It was a touchdown when I watched it happen in October and it’s still a touchdown when I watch it now…

It’s not like Notre Dame has steam rolled their competition. In fact, they’ve had a number of close games, home games, that could have gone either way. By my tally, one bounce of the ball and there were four games that very easily could have been losses. They squeaked by Purdue at home 20-17 and it took overtime at home to beat Stanford 20-13 (cough, cough.) The Irish barely got past BYU at home 17-14 and it took three overtimes at home to get past Pitt 29-26. As I said Sunday, if you or I were kicking for Pitt, the Panthers would have walked out of Notre Dame Stadium with a win.

The luck of the Irish has about one more week to go. Matt Barkley’s separated shoulder means that he will likely not play on Nov. 24th against The Irish, and if he does, he most certainly will not be the same threat. If he can suit up, anyone advising him with half a brain would never have him play with nothing on the line for the Trojans, jeopardizing his potential NFL career.

Assuming they beat USC, Notre Dame has no conference championship game to play in so they won’t have to face the rigors of their likely SEC foe. While a win next weekend would mean Notre Dame would be in the BCS National Championship Game, whether their opponent is Alabama, Georgia or Florida, Manti Teo can Hula Dance around the field all he wants, but Notre Dame won’t be able to beat any one of those three SEC teams. As I’ve said before, if The Irish had all three of those teams on their schedule they would lose to all three…


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