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Weis can't figure out Irish dropping in polls following their UCLA victory



Published: Wed, October 25, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Charlie Weis isn't sure Notre Dame is a top-10 caliber team.

He's convinced, though, the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish didn't deserve to be jumped in the polls and the Bowl Championship Series standings after a last-minute win over UCLA.

"One of the teams [Tennessee] that jumped us had the same game that we had. They're down, they're playing at home and they win by a field goal," Weis said Tuesday. "Another team [Florida] that jumped us wasn't even playing. They were home eating cheeseburgers and they end up jumping us. That befuddles me."

Clemson jumped ahead of Notre Dame in The Associated Press poll with a 31-7 victory over Georgia Tech, a team the Irish struggled to beat 14-10 in the season opener. The Irish dropped two spots to No. 10 in the coaches poll after Florida, which had a bye, and Tennessee, which came back from seven points down to beat Alabama 16-13 with a touchdown with 3:28 remaining, moved ahead of the Irish.

Longhorns win squeaker

Texas, which needed a 22-yard field goal to beat Nebraska 22-20 with 23 seconds to go, passed the Irish in the Bowl Championship Series standings, dropping the Irish to No. 9.

"Tell me how that works?" Weis said. "Maybe I'm just stupid. Tell me how that works?"

It was the second time this season the Irish dropped in the polls following a win. After beating Georgia Tech, they fell from No. 2 to No 4 in the AP and from third to fifth in the coaches poll. They also fell from No. 8 to No. 9 in the AP poll on their off week two weeks ago.

Weis, though, said the biggest concern for the Irish isn't the polls. He said they simply need to keep winning. They can clinch a spot in a BCS bowl -- and the 4.5 million that comes with it -- by finishing eighth or better in the final standings.

They still have an outside shot of making it to the national championship game -- but Weis admits they would need a lot of luck and help, especially with their next four games coming against the three military academies and North Carolina (1-6) before closing the regular season at USC.

Title game hopes

"Let's be very practical here. Would I love for Notre Dame to play for the national championship this year? Absolutely," he said. "Is it a chance that it happens? Yeah, there's a chance. Because any team with one loss has a chance of playing for it."

But no team in recent memory has been beaten like the Irish were in their 47-21 loss to Michigan has come back and won a championship. The Irish not only have a bad loss, they have two near misses in come-from-behind victories over Michigan State and UCLA. The offensive line has struggled repeatedly and the defense has given up many big plays.

Should the Irish be ranked in the top 10?

"I think we'll know that in about five weeks," he said. "We might be a top 5 team in five weeks," he said. "But ask me that at the end of November. Because right now I couldn't answer that question."

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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