Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/26/12

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have gotten off to an excellent 4-0 start thanks to a marauding defensive unit that is allowing only nine points per game. The Irish enter their bye week having managed to handle the hoopla of the Ireland game against Navy with aplomb before cutting a swath through the Big 10. But with three straight weeks of shoddy play up front on offense, uncertainty at quarterback and offensive powerhouses like Stanford, Oklahoma and USC (not to mention a very fast and schizophrenic Miami Hurricanes team), how much longer can the Irish remain unbeaten?

When asked if his team could continue to win games with an "evolving offense" (aka, a really not very good one), Brian Kelly had this to say in his bye week press conference:

Well, I mean, we need to continue to get better on offense, there's no question. But we just played in Ireland, played Purdue, who's pretty good, played Michigan State at Michigan State and Michigan and beat two top 20 teams. Yeah, we need to get better, there's no question. But we're 4 0, and our guys are going to continue to get better. We'll be better in November than we are now, and if we continue with that mindset, we should be fine. 

And there's something to be said for that view point. Two victories over ranked opponents, and no games against pathetic FCS competition destined to boost stats. Notre Dame even seemed to handicap themselves for their game against the one sorry team on the schedule (Navy) by playing it a different country on a field that Madonna herself had personally ruined. There is a lot of positive to see here if you want to.

The flip side here is that Michigan should have never been ranked in the first place after getting chainsawed by Alabama. Their two victories going into South Bend were a nail biter against Air Force and a blow out of hapless first year FBS school UMass. They may have been ranked, but that is more a product of voters being incompetent and putting the few schools they've heard of in the top 25 until they play their way out.

And if Michigan has not managed to give you pause about the quality of Notre Dame's schedule so far, look at the way Michigan State struggled with hapless Eastern Michigan for three quarters last Saturday. At this point, the most impressive looking team Notre Dame has played is Purdue, who have at least managed to take care of the patsies on their schedule.

The schedule Phil Steele called the toughest in America has been decidedly less difficult one-fourth of the way through the season than it appeared to be in the summer. Next week's Shamrock Series game against the Hurricanes will pit Notre Dame against yet another schizophrenic team: Will the Hurricanes team that got destroyed by Kansas State show up, or the team that rallied back against Georgia Tech?

Coach Kelly can say what he wants in press conferences, but his actions as head coach have made his goals for the offense very clear. Everett Golson is the quarterback until he turns the ball over, then it becomes Tommy Time. The message to the offense is thus clear: don't hand the other team points, let the defense win.

It remains to be seen whether Notre Dame can beat the more formidable teams on their schedule with little offensive production.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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