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updated: 11/6/2012 7:31 PM

Notre Dame will need more BCS luck

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  • At this point, it doesn't appear that coach Brian Kelly's No. 4 Notre Dame team can play with the top three teams.

    At this point, it doesn't appear that coach Brian Kelly's No. 4 Notre Dame team can play with the top three teams.
    Associated Press


There's no arguing that it was one of the most crucial votes in a very long time.

It set the tone for the near term and offered a glimpse into the future.

And the choice was correct.

No, not that election. I'm talking about the vote to place Oregon ahead of Notre Dame in this week's BCS rankings.

Let's face it, the Irish aren't in the same class as the Ducks and are lucky to be this high up in the standings.

But luck is a huge part of why Notre Dame is currently No. 4 and trailing only Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon, which last week was one slot behind Notre Dame and jumped the Irish after the Ducks' wild victory at USC and Notre Dame's OT escape at home vs. Pitt.

Before it's all said and done, the guess here is that it will be Alabama and Oregon in the title game.

Of course, a lot can happen in the next month, but at this point it doesn't appear as though Notre Dame can play with the top three teams.

Kansas State can make a heck of case for deserving the second spot with its play on the field -- probably the best all-around of any team through two months -- and the strength of the Big 12.

If Collin Klein is healthy and the Wildcats survive until the title game, they would give Alabama a run for its money.

But watching the teams on the field, the best matchup looks to be the Tide and the Ducks. They are the two fastest and most balanced teams in the country, at least so far in 2012.

It's worth noting that even with a great comeback victory Saturday at LSU, where it is obviously very difficult to win, Alabama may not be as good as it was a year ago and this title is a long way from being decided.

LSU probably should have won Saturday's game, but LSU is also not as good as it was last year.

When LSU beat Alabama in the first matchup last season, it was pretty clear that Alabama was the better team and would win a rematch if the Tide got the chance. The best two teams played again and Alabama got what it deserved.

It might not be as easy this season, though picking against the SEC champ is always at your own peril.

ND vs. Oregon

Both Notre Dame and Kansas State have done more on the field than Oregon against quality opponents thus far. The Irish victory at Oklahoma was impressive, and there was nothing lucky about it.

But Notre Dame has won five games at home by a touchdown or less -- including games against Purdue, BYU and Pitt -- and as good as its defense has been the offense eventually will cost them a shot at the BCS title.

Meanwhile, Oregon still plays No. 14 Stanford, No. 11 Oregon State and probably No. 18 UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game, though USC will have something to say about that.

It's no knock on KSU, which has to play at TCU and Baylor before getting Texas at home, but if Oregon makes it through a tough finish undefeated, the Ducks will be the No. 2 team and will get Alabama in what should be a spectacular title game.

That's assuming, of course, that the Tide can handle Jarvis Jones and Georgia in the SEC championship.

Luck of the Irish

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has been pretty realistic about his team this season, but he doesn't buy into the notion of football luck.

"I don't think I've ever had a lucky football team," Kelly said. "I've had a team that's gotten breaks along the way, but generally those teams have earned them.

"Most of the time, you're making your luck. You're playing through some rough spots. I've never had a team that won because it was lucky, but I've had many teams that were fortunate because they were good football teams and they found a way to win."

Fair enough.

Northern Illinois

The Huskies haven't needed much luck this season as they've cruised to a 9-1 record, with their only loss a 1-point defeat to Iowa at Soldier Field in the opener, a game NIU should have won.

They've climbed to 26th in the AP Poll and face No. 23 Toledo in DeKalb next Wednesday (7 p.m.) for the MAC's West Division title behind quarterback Jordan Lynch, who leads the nation in total offense (3,517) and rushing (1,342) and is 21st in QB rating.

Bears honors

Pro Football Weekly's midseason all-pro team is out, and it features cornerback Charles Tillman, linebacker Lance Briggs and defensive end Julius Peppers. Don't know where Tim Jennings was in the voting, but the second corner on the team is Seattle's Richard Sherman.

The head coach is Atlanta's Mike Smith and the top exec is Denver's John Elway, who dumped Tim Tebow in favor of a guy named Peyton Manning.

The quote

NFL Network's Steve Mariucci: "Reggie Wayne is having a career year because of Andrew Luck."

Race canard

TBS's Conan O'Brien: "The Minnesota Timberwolves are accused of having too many white players. Some say it's a ploy to appeal to a mostly white fan base. The owner claims it's not a ploy to win fans. It's a ploy to lose games."

And finally

Omaha World Herald's Brad Dickson: "NFL games in London in 2013 will include an appearance by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Obviously, this is our revenge on England for giving us soccer."

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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