Following an ugly 28-21 loss to Pitt on Saturday, Notre Dame dropped out of the AP and coaches top 25 polls, and won't be part of the latest BCS rankings that'll be released Sunday night.
At 7-3, Notre Dame still has a chance to finish in the top 25, but it'd require wins over both BYU and Stanford to end the season. And on top of that, it'd be a Pyrrhic victory, seeing as Notre Dame's BCS hopes were dashed Saturday at Heinz Field.
Beating BYU and Stanford in back-to-back weeks is a tall order, too.
While BYU lost to Wisconsin on Saturday (stats), Bronco Mendenhall's Cougars are a strong, physical bunch -- not the kind of team anyone wants to play a week before facing an incredibly physical Stanford side on the road.
Stanford asserted itself in an impressive 26-20 win over Oregon Thursday, shutting out the Ducks for nearly three quarters while power-running their way to a dominant offensive effort.
There's not much of an argument against Stanford being the best one-loss team in the nation, and there's an outside chance they'll be playing for a spot in the BCS Championship on Nov. 30.
Notre Dame looked at things through a six-game window coming out of its bye week last month, realizing they needed to go 6-0 to reach a BCS bowl. That won't happen after Saturday's loss at Pitt, and with two difficult games coming up reaching eight regular season wins won't come easy.
"You go back to square one," wide receiver T.J. Jones said. "Go 5-1, finish out the season the best you can."