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October 28, 2012
Brian Kelly prides himself on blocking out the noise. But on Sunday night Notre Dame’s head coach stepped into the echo chamber when he appeared on the BCS countdown show on ESPN.
Notre Dame jumped to No. 3 in the latest BCS poll, trailing No. 1 Alabama (.9759) and No. 2 Kansas State (.9400). The Irish (.9147) jumped Oregon (.9136), although just by one-thousandth of a percentage point based on Notre Dame’s favorable rankings in the computers.
“Yeah, it will continue to get louder and louder, but I think we've already addressed it and we'll continue to address it,” Kelly said. “If they fall trap to that, they'll lose. And I know this group does not want to lose any football games. They've adhered to all of the things that we've asked them to do.
“We will continue to do that. But I think it's important that you have to mention it every week, and you have to keep talking about it or you're going to fall victim to that.”
Notre Dame tied for first with Kansas State in the computer polls, which account for one-third of the BCS poll. Oregon ranked fifth according to the computers, behind even one-loss Florida.
The Irish rank fourth in the Harris Poll and the Coaches Poll, which account for two-thirds of the BCS formula. The Ducks rate second in both human polls.
Oregon has a chance to close the computer gap on Notre Dame with a difficult November schedule of at USC, at California, Stanford and at Oregon State, followed by the Pac-12 championship game. Notre Dame closes with Pittsburgh, at Boston College, Wake Forest and at USC.
The Ducks final four scheduled opponents have a combined record of 21-11 compared the final four Irish opponents at 16-16.
Kansas State closes with Oklahoma State, at TCU, at Baylor and Texas. Those four opponents have a combined record of 19-11. The Big 12 does not have a conference championship game.
Considering the Irish can’t go any higher in the computer polls, that might force Notre Dame to score style points over lesser opponents in the hopes of jumping Oregon or Kansas State in the human polls. But Kelly said he wouldn’t make scoring margin a focus during November.
“All of your games, if they were blowouts, that is the way you'd want them to be designed,” Kelly said. “But I don't think that there's any actual conversation or the way we practice or prepare that would get that to be something that we even talk about.
“So the reality of it is it's clear that you want to win your games and you want to win them in convincing fashion. But there is nothing that we'll do practically that will emphasize that in any way. It kind of becomes a moot point for us to even discuss it.”
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