The first BCS standings are out, with only four teams ranked ahead of Notre Dame. The Irish are No. 5 in the poll, with only Alabama, surprising Florida (at No. 2), Oregon and Kansas State above them.
"They watch TV, I mean, they see that. There's a sense of pride," coach Brian Kelly said earlier Sunday of how his team views the rankings. "There's no question that when you're talked about and you're putting Notre Dame up there in the top five, there's a sense of pride. I just have to make sure that they understand with that pride comes a greater obligation to do the thing the right way. I think that's how we'll handle it."
It's been six years since Notre Dame was last ranked in the first BCS standings, with the Irish slotting in at No. 8 in mid-October of 2006. That year, Notre Dame ranked as high as No. 5 and finished at No. 11 after a Sugar Bowl loss to LSU.
"We don't have a tie in from a conference standpoint," Kelly explained, "so if we're talking about the postseason, the only thing that we talk about is really the Bowl Championship Series."
In other polls, Notre Dame is No. 5 in both the latest AP and coaches rankings released Sunday morning, the program's highest ranking in either poll since September of 2006.
Ahead of the Irish in the coaches poll are Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Florida. The AP poll has Alabama and Oregon in the top two spots, with Florida No. 3 and K-State No. 4.
Both Oklahoma and USC moved into the top 10 of the coaches poll, with OU at No. 7 and the Trojans at No. 9. OU, fresh off a pasting of a hapless Texas defense, is at No. 10 in the AP poll, while USC is No. 11. Notre Dame faces Oklahoma in Norman on Oct. 27 and USC in Los Angeles Nov. 24.
Oklahoma is No. 9 and USC is No. 10 in the BCS standings.
The Irish could have a chance to move up with a win over BYU next week, if for no other reason than Florida plays No. 7 South Carolina and K-State travels to Morgantown to face West Virginia.