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Notre Dame's Chris Watt (66), Manti Te'o (5) and TJ Jones (7) celebrate with fans after Notre Dame defeated Michigan, 13-6, in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The skinny on the Irish

So now, with Notre Dame 4-0 and officially in the top 10 again, we can commence the Domer hater's favorite parlor game: How overrated are the Irish?

Answer: They're probably not.

Granted, the Irish offense is a rumor, ranking 96th in the nation. And granted, the schedule has not been as daunting as it first appeared, on account of three of their wins have been against Big Ten teams, and the Big Ten has revealed itself to be an absolute fraud top to bottom.

But nearly every one of the top teams in America is beating up on patsies this time of year, so ND's 4-0 record is likely is about as legit as, say, Kansas State's, which includes victories over Missouri State and North Texas. And the signature win that vaulted it into the top ten -- 24-19 at Oklahoma on Saturday -- came against a school that had itself fattened up on the likes of UTEP and Florida A&M.

Conclusion: 10th seems about right for ND right now, after beating Michigan. Legit or not, that's three ranked teams it's beaten in four weeks. And Michigan State was 10th when the Irish beat the Spartans on the road.

And suddenly that killer schedule doesn't look so deadly anymore. Oklahoma certainly wasn't impressive Saturday night, and USC isn't exactly destroying everything in its path. Other than that, the Irish's stiffest tests from here on out look to be Stanford and maybe Miami. Everything else is a whole lot of Pitt and Wake Forest.

No, the Irish aren't a powerhouse. But they may not have to be.

Ben Smith's blog.