ESPN'S Tony Kornheiser & Mike Wilbon say -- Notre Dame should not be ranked ahead of Oregon because they have played a weaker schedule overall and are the beneficiary of preferential treatment. If enough of the country saw the Ducks, who are victims of living in the Pacific Time Zone, they would (at 10-1) easily be ahead of 8-2 Notre Dame.
Of course I'm biased. But let's look at some simple facts concerning Notre Dame and Oregon:
Notre Dame won in a first-year head coaches second game AT Michigan. Say whatever you want about the Wolverines being overrated, that isn't Notre Dame's fault; they went into the Big House and won. Ohio State goes into the Big House this past weekend and comes back to win, its a season-defining, BCS-saving victory. Notre Dame does the same thing and its weak in comparision to beating Fresno State by three on your home field.
Notre Dame is 4-0 on the road, three of those coming against teams that were ranked at the time. Yet the fall of those opponents from the rankings makes ND's schedule a sham, and the fall of Arizona State and California from the rankings doesn't seem to hinder the strength of Oregon's schedule.
And in Oregon's biggest game of the season, on their home field, they allowed 45 unanswered points and lost by 32 to USC - the 32 points, I might add, being one more than Notre Dame scored on the Trojans in a game they were seven seconds away from winning.
Notre Dame didn't need a field goal with one second left to beat a 4-7 Washington State team. Or a fumble return in the 4th quarter to beat a 2-9 Arizona team. I think you're right, most of the country hasn't seen Oregon play, otherwise they wouldn't be ranked as high as they are right now.
Your argument against putting Notre Dame ahead of Oregon seems to hinge on the idea that is a crime against sport to rank a two-loss team ahead of a one-loss team, even if the one-loss team has two narrow wins against inferior competition. Fact of the matter is that you have to judge based on what you see on the field - and if USC is the clear number 1 team in the country, then Notre Dame is a heck of a lot closer to them than Oregon is.
Labels: Notre Dame Football 2005