The initial Bowl Championship Series polls were released Sunday night and Notre Dame came in at No. 5, behind four other teams that are also 6-0. There is a significant drop-off from the Top 5 to No. 6 and once-beaten LSU. Here is the Top 10, with the BCS average in parentheses (see the ratings explanation at the bottom).
Wide receiver TJ Jones (7), who scored the winning touchdown against Stanford, and the Irish are shooting for the stars.
1. Alabama (.9761)
2. Florida (.9092)
3. Oregon (.8993)
4. Kansas State (.8963)
5. Notre Dame (.8774)
6. LSU (.7522)
7. South Carolina (.6930)
8. Oregon State (.6808)
9. Oklahoma (.6664)
10. USC (.5959)
To be guaranteed a BCS bid, Notre Dame must finish in the top 8 in the final BCS standings, which likely would require an 11-1 record. To qualify for a BCS bid, it must finish in the top 14 in the final BCS standings, where a 10-2 record would do the trick.
In its remaining six games, Notre Dame probably will be a double-digit home favorite against BYU (Oct. 20), Pitt (Nov. 3) and Wake Forest (Nov. 17), and also at Boston College (Nov. 10), a 51-7 loser this past weekend to Florida State and the future job status of head coach Frank Spaziani in doubt.
However, Notre Dame probably will be underdogs in road games at No. 9 Oklahoma (Oct. 27) and No. 10 USC (Nov. 24).
“There's a sense of pride,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said during his Sunday afternoon teleconference. "When you're talked about and you're putting Notre Dame up there in the top five, there's a sense of pride. I just have to make sure that [the players] understand that with that pride comes a greater obligation to do the thing the right way."
In the computer rankings alone, Florida was No. 1 and Notre Dame No. 2.
The Harris Interactive Poll, USA Today Coaches Poll and computer rankings each comprise one-third of the BCS Standings. To derive the three percentages, each team is assigned an inverse point total (25 for No. 1, 24 for No. 2, etc.). The two poll percentages are calculated by dividing each team’s point total by a maximum 2875 possible points (Harris) and 1475 possible points (USA Today).
The computer rankings percentage is calculated by dropping the highest and lowest ranking for each team and then dividing the remaining total by 100 (the maximum possible points).
The BCS Average is calculated by averaging the percentage totals of the Harris Interactive Poll, USA Today Poll, and computer rankings. The teams’ BCS Averages are ranked to produce the BCS Standings. The six computer ranking providers are Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Wes Colley, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin and Peter Wolfe. Each computer ranking provider accounts for schedule of strength within its formula.