The Fighting Irish have won five straight games since their one-point loss to the Georgia Bulldogs back in early September and are coming off arguably their most impressive win of the season.
No. 13 Notre Dame dominated rival No. 11 USC 49-14 in South Bend Saturday night and are quickly becoming a program to keep an eye for the College Football Playoff.
The Irish still face three Top 25 opponents and the Navy Midshipmen over the next five weeks, and host No. 16 N.C. State and the Wolfpack’s star defensive end Bradley Chubb next Saturday.
If Notre Dame is able to run the table, knocking off Miami, N.C. State, and Stanford in the coming weeks it will be hard to deny the Irish a spot at the table, especially if Georgia continues to win.
The Bulldogs remain undefeated but still have tough games slated against Florida and Auburn in the Southeastern Conference.
While Alabama, Penn State, TCU, Miami, Wisconsin, and Georgia all control their own fate, the SEC and Big Ten title games could potentially leave two one-loss programs outside the College Football Playoff.
The Crimson Tide surely remain the favorites to return the big dance this year, but if Georgia were to win the SEC East and somehow knock off Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Notre Dame’s one-point loss to the Bulldogs likely becomes an afterthought.
Of course, none of that is within Notre Dame’s control.
The Fighting Irish will have to take care of the schedule ahead of them to even remain in the College Football Playoff conversation.
Most college football analysts didn’t expect Notre Dame to be back in the national conversation just one year after their worst season (4-8) under head coach Brian Kelly, but the play of quarterback Brandon Wimbush, running back Josh Adams, and their improved defense has Irish eyes smiling in South Bend.