November 19, 2012 // Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Ranked #1

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish players hold up a number one sign in a huddle prior to game action. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons by the score of 38-0 at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, IN. (Photo: Robin Alam / IconSMI)

It’s been 19 years.  19 long, sometimes very rough, years since the last time Notre Dame was ranked #1 in the polls, but Sunday afternoon when the AP and Coaches Polls were released, the Irish found themselves alone at the top with the rest of the college football world looking up at them.

After taking care of business on Senior Day with a 38-0 beating of Wake Forest – just Notre Dame’s second shutout in the last 10 years – Notre Dame was the beneficiary of upsets to both former #1 Kansas State and former #2 Oregon vaulting them into the top position for the first time since Lou Holtz led the Irish to a #1 ranking after beating Florida State in 1993′s epic showdown.

In the AP Poll, Notre Dame was the unanimous choice as the top ranked team in the country while in a bit of ridiculousness, three votes didn’t go the way of the only undefeated team in the country in the Coaches’ Poll.  Alabama received two of the three with Georgia receiving the third.  Apparently being undefeated isn’t as impressive to some having a loss to a top 10 or 15 team.  Interesting, huh?

Regardless of those three stray votes, the Irish are firmly in postion of the top spot in all of the polls that matter – including the BCS.  Since the BCS did not exist the last time Notre Dame was ranked #1 in the human polls, this is the first time Notre Dame has occupied the top spot in the BCS.

With one game remaining, Notre Dame will be playing for a berth in the championship game on Saturday when they travel to Los Angeles as the only undefeated team in the country eligible for the title game.  Should the Irish defeat the Trojans, everyone else will just be playing for second position.  Vying for that second spot right now are Alabama and Georgia. The two SEC foes are on a collision course in the SEC Championship game with the winner almost certainly securing a berth in the title game as well.

Notre Dame’s path to #1 in the polls has been extraordinary this year after the Irish started the season unranked.  As Notre Dame has piled up win after win enroute to its first 11-0 record since 1988 though, they have slowly and steadily climbed the polls and ascended into a position that would have seemed impossible for most Notre Dame fans to imagine this time last year.

The Irish head into the holiday weekend with more to play for than they have in almost 20 years, but now also have a huge target on their back heading into the Colosseum giving Brian Kelly and staff a new teaching point to caution their players against.  All Kelly needs to do is point to the last time the Irish were ranked #1 as a cautionary tale for his players though since after moving into the top spot 19 years ago the Irish only remained there for just one week before surrendering that position.

For Notre Dame fans, the holidays will be much happier this year if the Irish are able to hold onto this position longer this time around.

Comments to this Article

  • JC commented on November 19th, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Kudos Frank,

    We also need to remind the players USC claimed we gave up in the second half last year! So lots of things to motivate the players to take care of business.

    Bring your lunch USC your going to need it!

    Here come the Irish! 13-0

    [Reply]

    mark replied on November 19th, 2012 at 11:29 am

    if ND plays up to its potential and SC plays flat, ND could pull it out…I just don’t want to see them get too confident and blow this one.

    [Reply]

  • Michael the Archangel commented on November 19th, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Are those three coaches who voted against ND being ranked #1 identified? I’d love to know who they were.

    One can argue ND isn’t the best team, but how can one not rank the only qualifying undefeated team # 1?

    Wasn’t it the consensus at the year’s beginning that ND had at least one of the toughest schedules in football,
    with no FCS teams on that schedule?

    Wouldn’t Michigan, Oklahoma, and Stanford all have been rated higher at this point had they not lost to ND?

    The ND haters have emerged . . . and JC you’re right. ND ought to remember how some of the SC players referred to them as quitters. ND didn’t, (even after a 14 point swing at the goal line last year- then ended up losing by 14). and won’t quit this time either.

    Any thing can happen in one game- but from who’s left in the top 5, ND has the best chance to win and advance to the NC. Go Irish; you guys have been awesome, and you are most deserving of where you’re at.

    [Reply]

    C-Dog replied on November 19th, 2012 at 11:59 am

    You can bet Saban, Muschamp, and Richt are good bets to have voted differently. Or perhaps Stoops is still upset. It really doesn’t matter.

    Oklahoma and Stanford are going to climb by the end and certainly after the bowls.

    Michigan has 3 losses. The Big Ten has some question marks this year. So, they may or may not be under or overrated. That’s a big question.

    ND has to beat SC. Then they can look to the next game.

    This one is simple folks. Win out!

    [Reply]

    Eddie Badaracco replied on November 20th, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    ND haters? They’ve always been there. Never mind that ND did not receive three first place votes. Please calculate how many negative points 3 of the 59 voters(59 voters voted this last SUN instead of 60), would have given you if Ala (2) and Ga (1) voted for their one loss teams as No 1 and ND forr No. 2, you would have 56*25 + 3*24 = 1472 points. However, ND received 1469 points. Deduction: Those two SEC (speculating they were SEC coaches) coaches DID NOT EVEN PUT ND as No 2, but both put ND as No 3 for the math to check.
    In my country, we say “ra ra ra hoe kan dat”?, meaning how can this happen. Without a playoff system (the present BCS & next BCS playoff systems) this will continue to happen. If Bobby Bowden would have been coaching at FSU, probably FSU would be up there also.

    [Reply]

  • Damian commented on November 19th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    1-Notre Dame. Just savor that for a minute. When they play USC next weekend, there will be a number 1 next to the name.

    It’s critical the coaches keep the players focused. USC is going to look to be the spoiler. On paper, ND should dominate USC, esp. with them having to play a new quarterback. But we know on the field, anything can happen. Baylor should not have crushed Kansas State but they did. The players need to remember it could all end in one game. Take care of business. They are very capable of beating USC (probably handily), but they have keep their eye on the ball.

    Who would have thought playing in a BCS game would end up being a disappointment. Just a few weeks ago, fans were looking forward to a BCS game. Now an NC game is within reach. Wow. And the way they dominated Wake Forest at home. Wow. Too bad the basketball team lost to St Joseph on Friday. It could have been a perfect weekend.

    [Reply]

  • C-Dog commented on November 19th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    This team should unload on SC. Nothing to leave for the week after. A big layoff including an extra week if they do win. Time for practice and scouting.

    Expect a pounding running game and onus placed on the offensive line to put this one away. Also expect Golson to mix in with effective passing since he seems to have gotten in a groove. You really want a crushing score. Not so much because SC deserves it, but because it would put all doubt in the can.

    The defense still needs to bring it’s A game as USC’s receivers are speedy. They better pressure the QB.

    I’m still cautious about this one. But if the Irish do bring the A-game on both sides of the ball, look for a large margin of victory. Practice this week and mental prep and focus are what count.

    Just Beat SC!

    [Reply]

  • bj commented on November 19th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    DONT LET USC STEAL OUR RETURN TO GLORY again,

    in 2005 when leinart was stopped by a large group of Irish players, Bush pushed him into the end zone for the winning score. the game ended with the Trojans winning 34–31.[10]

    The Bush Push was criticized claiming that Section 3, Article 2b of the NCAA rule book states that, “[t]he runner shall not grasp a teammate; and no other player of his team shall grasp, push, lift or charge into him to assist him in forward progress.” If the penalty had been called, the push would have resulted in a five-yard penalty and another play

    [Reply]

    ND Southy replied on November 19th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Get over the Bush Push. No official would ever call that in any game anywhere. I see that happen 5 times a weekend in different games I watch. If we stop them on 4th and 9 there is nothing to worry about.

    In any event, old news. Win this week.

    [Reply]

  • storespook commented on November 19th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    “Gentleman, our opponent for this week said you quit last year, in your OWN HOUSE! Gentleman, I would say forget about what number is beside this team. You aren’t number 1 unless your 13-0 at the end of the season. Right now, I repeat, your opponent said you quit last yeard, that you gave up to them because they ended up beating you. Gentlemen, I would strongly suggest to you that you show them this year what a ‘so called quitter’ is going to do to them. Gentleman, I want to see some smashmouthing going on Saturday. Forget the rankings and anything else but showing ‘our opponent’ who the hell you are.”- Hopefully something BK pounds into the heads of the boys in Blue & Gold.

    As JC has said, We are ARRIVING, We are Notre Dame

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO IRISHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    SMASH THE TOJANS

    [Reply]

  • irisheye62 commented on November 19th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Anxious and simultaneously calm.
    Proud of the Seniors. Chills–tears–total loyalty, emotion.
    Priceless. Beautiful–regal–awesome.

    Watching K. State dismantled, Oregon playing an opponet with defense
    hearing the what if’s and what about this and that and countless
    possibilities.

    FOCUS IRISH-FOCUS! FACE THE DEMONS AND NAY SAYERS ( who have always been there) AND TAKE IT! MAY THIS TEAM PEAK AT THE RIGHT MOMENT! WE CAN DO THIS! FOCUS! WE CAN PLAY WITH ANYBODY! NOW–let us beat EVERYBODY!

    AS always–Proud of Notre Dame!

    [Reply]

  • Rockett55 commented on November 19th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Enjoy the ride IRISH faithful this season has had a bit of everything this team and esp this senior class has seen it all and have battled through a lot going on 4+ yrs now. Everyone says ND doesnt have a chance sat night thats fine they have been doubted all year why would it change SC is going to be a very tough test in a final chapter to a tough schedule this year. EMBRACE THE HATE GO IRISH BEAT SC.

    [Reply]

  • brandon commented on November 19th, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    If I had to guess I’d say 2 of the 3 coaches who didn’t vote for ND were Nick Saban (Alabama) and Mark Richt (Georgia). Curious as to who the 3rd coach is. Hes a big bad no good poo poo head

    [Reply]

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