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Varsity Numbers: Is Notre Dame ... Underrated?

My latest at Outsiders is a look at how we came to enter a world where pollsters aren't showing Notre Dame enough respect.

This is a damn good, well-rounded team. They rank sixth in overall Def. S&P+ -- third against the run, 15th (and rising) against the pass -- and 10th in Off. S&P+. The defense suffers some glitches on passing downs (they rank just 32nd in that category), and despite the presence of all-world receiver Michael Floyd, their passing offense is just good, not great (21st). Taken as a whole though, there is not a significant weakness on either side of the ball, and despite a schedule that includes USC (October 22), a tricky trip to Wake Forest (November 5) and a Thanksgiving trip to Stanford (November 26), they are a legitimate threat to win out. Or at the least, finish 9-3. Amazingly, they are a threat to do this despite being, at present time, completely ignored by pollsters. We currently live in a world where Notre Dame is underrated. Who'd have thunk it?