Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is ready to make his case for his team to play for the national title.
After saying he would stay out of BCS politics last week, Kelly gave some reasons for why he thinks his team should play for the championship during his Sunday teleconference.
“Each team has their own distinctions. The distinction of this football team, it’s the No.1 scoring defense in the country,” Kelly said. “It’s proven that against very, very good teams all year.
“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.”
Notre Dame is in the discussion because it improved to 10-0 for the first time since 1993 with Saturday’s 21-6 win at Boston College (2-8) and is tied with Alabama for the nation’s best scoring defense, with each giving up 11.1 points per game.
The Irish were also helped by Alabama falling from the ranks of the undefeated with the Tide’s 29-24 home loss to Texas A&M on Saturday.
Alabama (9-1), which had been No. 1 in the BCS standings, fell to No. 4 with Kansas State (10-0) and Oregon (10-0) taking over the top two spots. Notre Dame is No. 3 in the BCS, sitting .0101 percentage points behind No. 2 Oregon (.9497 to .9396) and .0278 behind No. 1 Kansas State (.9674).
Notre Dame also moved up to No. 3 in the USA Today coaches poll, which factors into the BCS standings, and Associated Press Top 25, which does not factor into the standings. Oregon is No. 1 in both polls, and Kansas is No. 2 in the polls.
The Irish received a first-place vote in both polls, and Kelly said he moved his team to No. 1 in the coaches poll after voting Alabama No. 1 last week.
Along with Notre Dame’s defense, Kelly said the Irish’s schedule – they are the only undefeated FBS team not to play a FCS opponent this season – is another reason his team has earned a title shot. Oregon played Tennessee Tech, and Kansas State played Missouri State – both FCS division teams.
“I think if you want style points, look at our defense, look at the schedule that we played, 10 FBS teams,” Kelly said. “I think it’s pretty clear that this football team has been built around its defense, and we’ve lived up to that each and every week.
“We’ll just keep working on one at a time and let other people figure out where that puts us.”
Also on Sunday, Notre Dame received good and bad injury news.
Kelly said receiver DaVaris Daniels, who left the BC game with his left arm in a sling, had surgery on his clavicle and will not play in the last two games this season.
Notre Dame plays host to Wake Forest (5-5) Saturday and finishes the regular season at USC (5-3) on Nov. 24.
Kelly said Daniels, who 25 receptions for 375 yards, should return to practice in December and be able to play in the Irish’s bowl game.
Cornerback KeiVarae Russell suffered a head injury against the Eagles, but he is on track to practice Tuesday, Kelly said.