Yesterday was a very good day. After watching at least 10 different sportscasters picking "the best of the one-loss teams" with nary a mention of ND in sight, the bulk of the so-called "best" one-loss teams lost yesterday, while ND rolled to a quick lead against Air Force before shifting into neutral and cruising to a 39-17 victory over a bowl-bound Air Force team.
#3/#4 Louisville, the crown prince of the BCS championship, lost to Rutgers.
#4/#3 Texas, the team with the easiest road and picked (about even with Florida) as the best 1-loss team thus far, lost to unranked Kansas State
#5 Auburn, the SEC team with only one-loss that wasn't going to have to play in the SEC championship, had an easy road to the end of the season. But they overlooked the hapless Georgia Bulldogs, losing big.
#6 Florida has been riding the ESPN hype all week long, being picked almost as often as Texas as the best 1-loss team. However, they needed a missed field goal, a blocked field goal, and a missed extra point to edge out unranked South Carolina 17-16.
#7 USC looked good against Oregon, and that's good for us, as we want Southern Cal to look as good as possible when we stomp them in the Coliseum in 2 weeks.
#8 California was a close third according to many pundits as the best 1-loss team, and many were predicting the Golden Bears to knock off the mighty Trojans next week. But Cal forgot to knock off the mighty Arizona Wildcats first, losing 24-20.
#11 Arkansas was the only other 1-loss team besides Notre Dame to look good in their game, as they stomped the overrated Tennessee team. Despite being ranked behind ND going into the week, the Razorbacks pulled a Cal/Florida/Tennessee and jumped the Irish in the AP poll after the Irish won their game. But nobody passed Florida after their close call. Go figure.
So where does all that drama leave the Irish?
Let's just say that I'm revoking my premature concession that we wouldn't make the championship game.
We still need a couple of things to happen, but the chances of us making the BCS championship went from about 1 in 500 to about 1 in 10 this week.
A Florida loss would have been helpful, and because they survived, we need Florida to stumble either against Florida State or in the SEC Championship.
Likewise, we need Arkansas to stumble against LSU or in the SEC Championship game.
If either of those teams come out of the SEC with 1 loss, our chances of leapfrogging them aren't great.
The only other team we need to keep an eye on is 9-0 Rutgers, who should lose to West Virginia.
The losses by Texas and Auburn took care of the 1-loss teams that had "easy sailing" to the end of the year.
Cal's loss means that USC doesn't have to beat them next week for us to stay ahead of them. However, we still need SC to win that game.
We have SC's destiny in our hands, as we play them on Nov. 25.
Don't be surprised if the two greatest rivalries in college football (Michigan-tOSU and ND-USC) turn into "play-in" games for the national championship.
I still have plenty of faith that the bias of the human polls will drag us down, but our computer rankings might put us ahead of another 1-loss team by the end of the season. Playing Army isn't going to help our SOS, though.
Lost in all the excitement this year is the wonderful fact that, in only his second year as head coach, Coach Weis has his team in the conversation for the national title.
What a difference a coach makes.