Notre Dame moved to No 3 in the BCS standings Sunday night, meaning the Irish – who improved to 10-0 for the first time since 1993 with Saturday's 21-6 at Boston College – will still need help to reach the BCS national championship game.
The top of the standings were reconfigured after previously No. 1 Alabama fell from the ranks of the undefeated with a 29-24 home loss to Texas A&M on Saturday.
Kansas State (10-0), which defeated TCU 23-10 Saturday, moved into the top spot in the BCS, and Oregon (10-0), a 59-17 winner at California on Saturday, took over the No. 2 spot. The top five rounds out with Alabama at No. 4 and Georgia No. 5, which are both 9-1.
The Irish, who were No. 4 in the BCS last week, are .010 percentage points behind Oregon (.950 to .940) and trail Kansas State by .027 (.967 to .940).
Notre Dame, which closes the season at home against Wake Forest on Saturday and at USC on Nov. 24, will likely need either Oregon or Kansas State to lose for the Irish to reach the title game.
Kansas State plays at Baylor on Saturday then has a two-week break before finishing the season against Texas. Oregon has a home game against Stanford, a road game against Oregon State and will play either USC or UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game.
Even if Kansas State or Oregon do not lose before the end of the season, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference that Notre Dame is doing enough to earn a spot in the national championship game if it finishes undefeated.
"I think you take a look at each team. Each team has their own distinctions," Kelly said. "The distinction of this football team, it's the No.1 scoring defense in the country (along with Alabama, which is also only giving up 11.1 points per game). It's proven that against very, very good teams all year. We make it very difficult for you to run the football.
"Again, I think if you look at national championship-caliber football, you've got to look at a defense, and so that's why we feel strongly that our football team has put themselves in the discussion. We'll let others decide, but I think we've played our way into the discussion."