Notre Dame was not very impressive this weekend against a MAC opponent. That kind of performance usually leads to a drop in the rankings. For Notre Dame this week though, their 24-16 victory over Ball State didn’t cost them in the AP or Coaches Polls with the Irish holding steady at #8.
Without any major upsets in the top 10 this week the rankings remained relatively steady this week. What is surprising about Notre Dame staying at #8 is that Stanford didn’t jump the Irish in either poll. Stanford held USC without a touchdown in their 17-3 win over the then #17 Trojans. It wouldn’t have surprised anyone if the Cardinal leapfrogged Notre Dame on the strength of that win. They did not.
Where Notre Dame and Stanford rank right now ultimately really doesn’t matter at all. The two are set to square off at the end of the month and if both are still undefeated then, the rankings will sort themselves out relative to each other anyway.
What is interesting about Notre Dame staying at #8 is that the media in general does not seem to have noticed Notre Dame struggled against a MAC school. Not just in the rankings either – there’s been very little negative media attention given to the Irish for their lackluster performance. That’s odd because the media usually LOVES any chance to pile on Notre Dame and write those “same old Notre Dame” stories. They haven’t.
Maybe Florida State bought the Irish some cover with their near upset to Samford. Florida losing at home to Kentucky helped too. Then there was #15 Michigan State losing to unranked Arizona State. Whatever the case, no seems to care Notre Same struggled unlike the did in 2015 when the Irish dropped in the rankings following less than impressive wins over Wake Forest and Boston College.
In looking at future Notre Dame opponents, Stanford checks in at #9, Virginia Tech at #12, and USC is down to #22 following their loss to Stanford this weekend.
Michigan moved back up two spots to #19 after they blew out Western Michigan 49-3. As painful as it is, it’s actually in Notre Dame’s best interest for the Wolverines to keep winning to make that week one win over them look better on the old resume. After yesterday though, Notre Dame has quite a few more pressing matters to worry about.
Amazingly someone in the AP poll actually voted for Florida State, another future Irish opponent. The Seminoles, fresh off a beat down from Virginia Tech in week one and their come from behind win over Samford received 1 vote and are in the “Others Receiving Votes”.