After three underwhelming performances to start the season and then three relatively underwhelming quarters of football on Saturday, Notre Dame’s fourth-quarter explosion against Wisconsin not only vaulted them to a blowout of the Badgers, it pushed them back into the AP Top 10. On Sunday morning, Notre Dame checked in at #9 in the new rankings after a rather chaotic weekend left sent other programs like Clemson tumbling.
Notre Dame started the season in the top 10 in the AP rankings, but their close call against Toledo saw the Irish fall to 12th, where they held after last weekend’s comfortable win over Purdue. Yesterday’s beat down of the Badgers that saw the Irish put up an absurd 31 points in the fourth quarter alone, however, was enough to send the Irish back into the top 10, setting up a battle of top 10 teams inside Notre Dame Stadium this weekend. Cincinnati checked in at #7.
Unsurprisingly, Wisconsin fell completely out of the top 25 with their 1-2 record. Clemson, owners of a 2-2 mark on the season, barely stayed in the top 25, checking in right at #25, snapping their streak of being ranked in the top 10. The Tigers are all but eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since the inception of the college football playoffs.
After four Notre Dame opponents started the season ranked, only Cincinnati remains ranked this week. North Carolina fell out of the rankings following their embarrassing loss to Georgia Tech, while USC has been out of the rankings ever since getting destroyed by Stanford in week two. For good measure, though, USC dropped another game this weekend to Oregon State. The Trojans come to town in three weeks following Notre Dame’s bye week.
If Notre Dame can beat the Bearcats this weekend, there will not be another ranked team, as of today, between them and the end of the season though that could very well change before all is said and done.
Notre Dame fans should now brace themselves for the “well, Notre Dame’s schedule is just too easy” narrative.