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Irish may have, unfairly, blown title shot Saturday

It seems a little strong to say Notre Dame deserved to plummet in the BCS standings for needing three overtimes to beat a mediocre Pittsburgh team on Saturday.

I say the Fighting Irish deserve some credit for rallying to win a game they had no business winning. I caught much of the second half on my way back from a Coal City High School football game at Geneseo ... and things were going from bad to worse for the Irish. They fell behind 20-6 by the end of the third quarter, and announcers Don Criqui and Allen Pinkett were all but saying the Irish were done. Somehow they found a way, and I think they deserve a lot of credit for that.

While I understand Oregon surpassing the Irish in the BCS standings, I think this weekend should be viewed more as what Oregon and Kansas State did and not what Notre Dame failed to do. The Ducks' offense and the Wildcats' everything are so impressive that I certainly see why you'd put them ahead of the Irish, who have a spotty offense to go with an excellent defense. But I don't think this weekend should have been a definitive one. It's not like the Irish lost.

But the Irish are very clearly in a spot where, in addition to winning out themselves, they're going to need a loss from two of their three rivals (with clear-cut No. 1 Alabama being the third) to find a way into the national championship. Oregon still has two ranked teams (No. 14 Stanford and No. 11 Oregon State) on its schedule before the Pac-12 Championship. I don't see either of those teams being in the Ducks' class. Collin Klein's injury would seemingly make a Kansas State loss more likely, though the TCU-Baylor-Texas golden parachute on which the Wildcats will coast into the Big 12 Championship is to their benefit.

Long story short, I feel a lot worse about Notre Dame's chances now than I did not long ago — and the Irish have since beaten Oklahoma! What a shame it's going to be if an unbeaten regular season doesn't get them a natonal title shot. Then again, maybe it's poetic justice that now that we know the BCS' days are numbered, it will produce a bigger mess than it ever has before.


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