Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/17/12

College football, unlike other sports, relies heavily on feelings to determine the outcome of its season. It is not enough for the Oklahoma Sooners to be 2-0, they have to look impressive against teams like UTEP or they see their standing drop. The perception of your team going into the season matters a great deal as well. The Oregon Ducks, despite playing three games against tomato cans, is being talked about as a no brainer for national title consideration because they have been in the big game before. LSU is considered a lock to be in the running because they waxed a perennially .500 Washington Huskies team. When the top 25 voters get a narrative in their head, it becomes very difficult to sway them.

The word on Notre Dame football over the past few years has not been as kind. The Fighting Irish have had a few flurries in recent years; Ty Willingham's first year as coach, and Weis' first two years stand out. The common thread in every Irish mirage were wins over big name programs that ended up having lackluster seasons early in the year, followed by crushing losses to USC and in a bowl they probably didn't belong in. This pattern combined with several other seasons of outright terrible play has created a bad narrative for Notre Dame football in the media.

Because of this, Notre Dame sits at 15th in the USA Today poll despite more impressive wins than any team in the top ten except Alabama. Notre Dame, and yes this is not an easy sentence to type given the history of the program, is underrated right now.

Now, every poll that is published before week eight is pretty flawed; there's no way to really accurately get a gauge on things. But the polls exist, and they matter. The USA Today poll is factored into the BCS to decide who play for the national championship. As stupid as it is, it matters.

And of course, it's worth mentioning that there's the potential that this season could be yet another mirage. Notre Dame's victories over Purdue and Michigan State look great right now, but the Big 10 is in a pretty sorry place over all. It is very possible that Notre Dame could finish with 10 to 11 wins against a schedule that looked very rigorous at the beginning of the season only to find out the big name schools they scheduled all duffed it.   

But barring that real possibility, we here at FightingIrish101 have decided to turn up the optimism levels for this season. Notre Dame physically dominated a team that is still the best bet to be playing for the Roses in Pasadena this year. And the big bad wolf of the schedule, USC, looked positively pedestrian last Saturday against a team with a similar physical profile, Stanford.

After Saturday, Notre Dame showed that there is not a single team they will play all year that they should be afraid of. It's a physical team that seems to have cured its turnover issues from last year. While many have harped on the youth of the secondary (which has just gotten even younger with Jamoris Slaughter's season ending Achilles injury), they secondary has shown no sign that they are a weak link. This is a team built to play against the best.

It is time to stop pretending it is 2005 and give the Fighting Irish credit for what they are doing in 2012. 

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

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Pork Chop Womack All-Stars: Ranking The Best Food-Related Names In College Football
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NHL adds meldonium to banned substances list

Report: Chances of Jonathan Papelbon signing ‘non-existent’

Chris Bosh isn’t pleased with the Miami Heat

NFL clears players in HGH investigation

NFL execs: Kaepernick 'traitor,' hated as much as Carruth

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kansas FB settling first-team reps with Rock-Paper-Scissors

Report: Vikings trainers saved Bridgewater's 'leg and career'

Baylor's Zamora suspended 3 games for beating his dog

Craig Sager to undergo third bone marrow transplant

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Nationals' Stephen Strasburg expected to return next week

2016 offers more lessons for the NFL on domestic violence

Twitch works to highlight gamers with disabilities

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal opens up about worst game of career

The NBA's worst signature shoes

The barren wasteland of available NFL quarterbacks

College football conference breakdown, Week 1

Kevin Owens is the right WWE Champion at the right time

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball before trade to Cubs

Fred Taylor: NFL doctors never told me about multiple injuries

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal on the one move that caused the demise of the Chargers

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2016 offers more lessons for the NFL on domestic violence

Twitch works to highlight gamers with disabilities

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal opens up about the worst game of his career

The NBA's worst signature shoes

The barren wasteland of available NFL quarterbacks

College football conference breakdown, Week 1

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal on the one move that caused the demise of the Chargers

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

West-ern Literature: How Kanye's fans find meaning in between the lines

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker