What Alabama's loss means for Notre Dame

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What Alabama's loss means for Notre Dame

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- In the span of three and a half hours Saturday afternoon, it's a pretty safe assumption that "Gig 'em" entered the lexicon of Notre Dame nation.

The legend of Johnny Football grew Saturday in Tuscaloosa, with Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel leading a stunning 29-24 Aggie win over the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide. The win sent shockwaves from coast to coast, as the group of unbeaten teams in college football shrunk to three.

While Alabama's loss was Notre Dame's gain, it wasn't a topic of discussion in the Irish locker room.

"Oh no. No no no. Absolutely not," coach Brian Kelly said, shaking his head. " We didn't even talk about it. We talked about what we have to do to win next week against Wake Forest."

That's the mentality Notre Dame has taken -- no player on the team will admit to caring about the results of Alabama, Kansas State or Oregon, even if they have a direct impact on their shot at a title. For Notre Dame, it's about controlling what they can control, which wasn't Manziel's terrific performance at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"I was watching the game before. I didn't hear they lost, I knew they were down, but I was watching the game before," quarterback Everett Golson explained. "I turned it off a little bit and tried to get ready for this game right here, because that's all I could really control."

Notre Dame should move up to No. 3 in the newest BCS standings released Sunday, behind presumptive No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon. K-State topped TCU 23-10 in Fort Worth, while Oregon's offense was in its usual explosive state against Cal.

KSU faces Baylor in Waco and Texas in Manhattan to close out the year, while Oregon draws Stanford at home, Oregon State on the road and then probably USC at home in the Pac 12 championship game.

Notre Dame won't jump ahead of K-State or Oregon if all three teams finish undefeated, no matter how impressive or unimpressive the trio look in their final games. All Notre Dame can do is win out, although the Irish aren't co-opting the survive-and-advance mentality that permeates the NCAA basketball tournament.

"When you stop playing to win and start playing not to lose, that's when you start getting in trouble," linebacker Manti Te'o said. "We just gotta play Notre Dame football and come out every single week and start firing on all cylinders."

And no, a one-loss Alabama team won't leapfrog an undefeated Notre Dame side -- College Football Talk's John Taylor spoke to someone who knows the BCS formula, and that person didn't see an avenue for a one-loss team to be ranked ahead of an undefeated team at the end of the season.

Notre Dame's national championship hopes haven't completely crystallized yet. Even with Alabama out of the equation, there's still one more loss needed for the Irish to break through into the BCS Championship picture.

But they're one step closer to a top-two ranking and trip to Miami. First, though, they have to take care of their own business -- which, as the Irish have experienced this season, won't be easy.

"It's only as real as Wake Forest," Te'o said of Notre Dame's championship aspirations. "We have to deal with Wake Forest and play one game at a time. That's proof that it's college football. Any team can lose at any time. We just don't want to be that team."

Fast Break Morning Update: Cubs visit White House; Blackhawks, Bulls in action tonight

Fast Break Morning Update: Cubs visit White House; Blackhawks, Bulls in action tonight

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from Monday:

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Avalanche tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Mavericks in search of third straight win

Cubs meet President Obama in unforgettable, symbolic White House visit: ‘They said this day would never come’

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Reports: Dolphins assistant Jeremiah Washburn to be Bears' new O-line coach

Does Cubs president Theo Epstein have a future in politics?

President Obama, with Cubs at White House: 'Among Sox fans, I'm the Cubs' No. 1 fan'

At Cubs' White House visit, President Obama touts Michelle Obama's Cubs fandom, shouts out Jose Cardenal

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

The state of the Bulls after the first half of the season

Who are the Bulls? The team that beat Cleveland and Toronto or lost to Dallas, Minnesota and Milwaukee?

That's the question Bulls fans are currently asking and the one Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill posed in the video above.

The Bulls have had impressive wins and shocking losses, but neither of those should be surprising at this point. The Bulls are, as Goodwill put it, consistently inconsistent.

The first half of the season has proven that Dwyane Wade still has some memorable moments left to give and Jimmy Butler continues to approach superstardom. On the downside, the drama surrounding Rajon Rondo has meant the 'three alphas' that were hyped up in the preseason haven't been the dynamic trio some Bulls fans had hoped.

Coach Fred Hoiberg doesn't have the shooters his system needs, but can he still rally the troops and get something out of Rondo?

Watch the video to see Goodwill's look back on the Bulls' first half and what could be ahead.