Following the double overtime road loss to the Longhorns, Notre Dame has fallen to number 18 in the AP Poll. Texas benefitted greatly from defeating the Irish, as they jumped all the way up to 11th. Time will tell whether Texas is that good or if the Notre Dame defense is just that bad, but the 18th spot is about where you would expect a team to land after what we saw Sunday. Texas jumping to 11, however, is fairly unexpected and perhaps a bit on the reactionary side. I would’ve had them at 17.
Future Notre Dame opponent Miami slipped into the AP rankings at 25. The Irish get the Hurricanes on the 29th of October in South Bend. If they continue to win, Miami represents a chance for a win over a ranked foe, and the Irish will need a few of those.
As far as more quality wins are concerned, the Irish should get their chances. Stanford hopped up one spot in the rankings to number seven after a win over Kansas State, and Michigan State remained 12th after an unimpressive win over Furman.
USC dropped out of the rankings completely after getting blown out by Alabama.
Between the QB competition and the performance of the defense Sunday night in Austin, it’s pretty clear that Notre Dame has some work to do if it hopes to emerge as a contender for the College Football Playoffs. Even if the Irish do get it turned around and somehow manage to not lose again this season, they’ll need some help. Texas winning the Big 12 would certainly help, after all, it’s not like there wasn’t a team that lost to Texas in the playoffs last year. It’s a double-edged sword, unfortunately, as Texas would probably claim one of the four spots.
Houston jumped to number six in the poll, and it appears that they have as good of a chance as anyone to grab a playoff spot if they run the table from here out. That wouldn’t be ideal for Notre Dame, since Houston being a playoff team would mean that there are only three other spots for major conference champions and Notre Dame. Giving one spot to a G5 team and another to Notre Dame would certainly rustle some jimmies, even if the Irish are seriously impressive for the rest of the season.
Florida State also benefited from winning a prime-time game against a ranked opponent, jumping to number three after the huge comeback against Ole Miss.
There are no games between ranked teams this weekend, meaning we can all take some time to breath and maybe watch some blowouts. Inevitably, we’re all still recovering from the chaos that was week one in college football.