Notre Dame’s triple-overtime 29-26 victory over now 4-5 Pitt improved it to 9-0, but the win still dropped head coach Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish from No. 3 to No. 4 in the BCS poll.
Can Theo Riddick and the Irish keep their hopes alive to reach No. 1?
Oregon moved up from No. 4 to No. 3 after a 62-51 victory against USC in the Los Angeles Coliseum. Kansas State remained No. 2 with a 44-30 conquest of Oklahoma State, while defending national champ Alabama is ensconced in the pole position after an 11th-hour touchdown drive enabled them to squeak by now No. 7 LSU, 21-17, in Baton Rouge.
The SEC foursome of Georgia, Florida, LSU and South Carolina follow the four unbeaten teams. The former two have one loss apiece, and the latter two have two defeats each. Big East leader Louisville is ninth despite its unbeaten record, but strength of schedule keeps them on the outside looking in as far as national title aspirations.
Speaking of being on the outside looking in, Notre Dame won’t win many style points to elevate their status the next two weeks with 2-7 Boston College next on the Irish docket, followed by 5-4 Wake Forest.
• Alabama doesn’t leave its state the next three weeks, although it could have an interesting “letdown test” this weekend against No. 15 Texas A&M. Western Carolina (Nov. 17) and reeling Auburn (Nov. 24) cap the campaign prior to the Dec. 1 SEC title game.
• Kansas State is on the road against TCU (Nov. 10) and Baylor (Nov. 17), and then has two weeks to prepare for No. 17 Texas, which it hosts Dec. 1.
• Oregon is at Cal this week, and then finishes with No. 14 Stanford and No. 11 Oregon State before playing in the Pac 12 title game on Dec. 1.
Notre Dame does not control its own destiny right now and will need at least two major upsets among the trio in front of it — plus win out on its own — to get a berth into the title game. Here’s the BCS Top 10:
1. Alabama .996
2. Kansas State .932
3. Oregon .917
4. Notre Dame .905
5. Georgia .817
6. Florida .786
7. LSU .705
8. So. Carolina .621
9. Louisville .604
10. Florida St. .597
Kelly said after this weekend’s victory versus Pitt that he refuses to engage in scoreboard watching.
“I don't really care about that,” he said of the BCS ratings. “Everybody says I should care. I care about my football team. I care about getting better. We're really just focused on ourselves. We can't worry about all those other things. We really can't.
“I could be politically correct and say, ‘Yeah, I care, we're going to watch it.’ But to be honest with you, we've got a lot of work to do with our football team.”