The Fighting Irish and their Irish luck will run out on the last game of the season.

The Irish have escaped games against mediocre teams like Purdue, Brigham Young University, and, last weekend, Pittsburg. But still, I am not convinced of their top five ranking. I am convinced that they are going to lose to a feisty University of Southern California team in the final week of their schedule.

Wouldn’t it be poetic?

The preseason number one, USC, gets ripped apart in a season where they were supposed to go undefeated. They meet up with a team that was not ranked in the preseason, and that might as well have gone defeated. Then, they take down the Fighting Irish at home. A Fighting Irish team that could be number ranked number one but more likely number two or three.

I just don’t believe that this Irish team is as good as everyone has made them out to be. Everyone just wants them to be. It’s good for football that the good old American Catholic school to be good.

Sure, Notre Dame’s defense is awesome. Manti Teo deserves to be the Heisman Trophy front-runner. Unfortunately, ESPN named him their number two candidate. I will stand by my number one ranking, even if Notre Dame loses one of their next three games.

I never knew that linebackers could be “clutch.” It’s just hard to make clutch tackles on an 11-man defense, but Manti Teo does it. He came up with a key stop against Pitt, and he seemingly does it every week. He is a leader, but more importantly, he shows up at the end of games and does not let the opponents make fourth quarter comebacks.

On top of the “clutch” factor, he has 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and most importantly, 5 interceptions.

“So why don’t you believe, Henry? You’re a nihilist,” you may be saying.

But Notre Dame’s offense is unimpressive. Their rushing offense is 30 in the FBS. Their passing offense is 90! Everett Golson is averaging just over 152 yards per game. He has six passing touchdowns on the year. The only two teams he has been over 200 yards passing was against 3-6 Purdue and 4-5 Pittsburg, and that was out of necessity. The Fighting Irish almost lost both games. Their defense had to win it for them. Cornerback Bennett Jackson picked off the ball during Purdue’s two-minute drill. The special teams forced an overtime field goal miss by Pitt.

They rely heavily on their running backs to create space for their passing game. They usually use a stable of two in their games, alternating carries and changing the pace on their opponents between Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. The Irish have a homerun threat in Wood, but when his longest carry is held within 20 yards (in games that he has played), they have only won by margins of seven points or less.

So, when Golson is averaging 6.9 yards per pass attempt, the running back Wood is averaging 6.3 yards a carry. Is it preposterous to think that the key to The Irish’s offense is their back-up running back? Crazier things have happened.

Henry McKenna

Sports Editor

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