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Give 'em a brake

So you know what the story line's gonna be now, right?

Sure you do.

Everyone who ever heard of the Golden Dome knows what it's gonna be, now that Notre Dame finally has a first signature victory. Going into East Lansing and physically beating up a physical Michigan State team that was ranked 10th opens the floodgates -- and, brother, there are no floodgates in college football like the floodgates that open when it looks as if Notre Dame has found relevancy again.

They're 3-0 for the first time since 2002, when Tyrone Willingham started 8-0. They've beaten a top-ten team for the first time in seven years. And so, for at least a week, get used to a 24/7 onslaught of either A) Notre Dame Is Back, Baby! or, B) Notre Dame Has Become A National Power Again. It's as inevitable as sunrise.

This is not to say that it couldn't be true, of course. The book on ND is that they still don't have enough athletes to compete with the elite programs, but they had enough last night. And with USC losing to Stanford, all sorts of glittering possibilities are suddenly out there on the horizon, at least if you keep company with leprechauns.

Here's the thing, though: In Michigan State, Notre Dame faced a one-dimensional team that was breaking in a new quarterback, a perfect fit for a defense whose strength is all in its down seven. Take away the run and you take away the Spartans' offense, and that's exactly what Notre Dame did.

And this week, of course, they get their old tormentor, Denard Robinson. Down the road, they have to go Oklahoma. And if USC suddenly looks vulnerable ..... well, the team that made them look that way, Stanford, is on the Notre Dame schedule, too.

Conclusion: Don't start warming up the national championship bus just yet.

Ben Smith's blog.

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