Notre Dame football is officially halfway to an undefeated season, but will take it one game at a time as the focus now turns to Pitt.
The Irish have earned control of their own destiny. With back-to-back wins over Stanford and Virginia Tech, Notre Dame football is ranked at No. 5 in both the AP and Coaches polls.
As outsiders, we can sit here and speculate what an undefeated season would mean for the Irish. A College Football Playoff appearance seems likely.
While we speculate, head coach Brian Kelly knows that his team can’t look ahead — one game at a time has to be the motto.
Notre Dame will return home to host Pittsburgh this weekend after surviving the hostile environment at Virginia Tech. The Irish not only survived, but they also dominated in the second half, leading to a 45-23 victory.
Now back at home, Notre Dame will face the 3-3 Panthers. OddsShark has the Irish as 21-point favorites. Pitt claimed good wins over Georgia Tech and Syracuse and could have come out on top against North Carolina. Their top two opponents — Penn State and Central Florida — both dominated the Panthers on both sides of the ball.
Dominating both sides of the ball has been Notre Dame’s specialty the last few weeks. Ian Book is consistently completing 70 percent of his passes, Miles Boykin has dominated his matchups, Dexter Williams is making up for lost time and Te’von Coney and Drue Tranquil are nightmares to have to deal with. For that matter, so is the entire front seven.
Everything is working like a well-oiled machine; Notre Dame just has to stay on track. How difficult will that be? The Irish are highly favored in this one, next week is a bye-week and fall break begins this weekend. The atmosphere from the students may not be there and it could be easy to just look ahead.
If Kelly showed us anything last week versus Virginia Tech, it’s that when he says the team is focused on preparing, he means it.
As we prepare for Notre Dame vs. Pitt, here are three bold predictions for the matchup.