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Posted on Wed. Nov. 07, 2012 - 12:47 am EDT

Irish coach puts poll in perspective

In 2009, Kelly was on outside looking in while at Cincinnati

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Notre Dame

at Boston College

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

TV: ABC

Radio: 1190 AM, 92.3 FM, 107.3 FM

FORT WAYNE — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly didn’t use Election Day to stump for his team as national title contender.

Aside from saying he voted Tuesday, Kelly stayed away from politics during his new conference, especially when it came to the No. 4 Irish’s BCS prospects.

“It doesn’t help,” Kelly said of why he doesn’t campaign for BCS positioning. “If it helped, you know me, I could talk all day. If it really helped I would be on the stump for it, but it doesn’t do anything.

“The only thing that does (help) is winning football games. I try spending all my time and energy focused on how we can get another win and getting to 10 (wins). That’s really where we’re at right now, how do we get to 10?”

Notre Dame (9-0), which slipped from No. 3 to No. 4 in the BCS standings after a 29-26 triple-overtime victory over Pittsburgh last weekend, will go for its 10th victory at Boston College (2-7) on Saturday.

A win over the Eagles may not be enough to push the Irish up the BCS poll as they enter the weekend behind Alabama (9-0), Kansas State (9-0) and Oregon (9-0). And even if Notre Dame wins its home game against Wake Forest on Nov. 17 and season finale at USC on No. 24, the Irish could still get shut out of the national title game if all the teams remain undefeated.

Kelly was in a similar situation in Cincinnati in 2009, when the Bearcats went undefeated in the regular season but couldn’t move past Alabama and Texas to reach the BCS championship game.

“I never went out in the media and tried to defend what we did,” Kelly said of the 2009 season. “All I said was that the schedule was set, here is who we play and all we can do and all we can control is winning these football games. If a field goal goes awry against Nebraska and Texas, it changes things. It could be the same situation again with Notre Dame three years later. I can’t control any of that.

“What I can control is to make sure that these guys play better against BC.”

Kelly did take a jab at the schedules teams in front of the Irish in the BCS have played this season, saying the Irish didn’t have the luxury in the first four games to have blowouts and not play starters in the second half of games.

But that was the closest he came to comparing Notre Dame to Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon.

“The way the BCS is set up right now, if you have more than two undefeated teams you can’t control it,” Kelly said. “Now, in two years when you have four teams that can play (in a playoff of a national title), yeah, now you can control things a little bit more. You may be talking more about your teams, but you can’t now.

“Maybe in two years you’ll find me talking a lot more about it.”

Notes: Nose tackle Louis Nix III, who didn’t start against Pittsburgh on Saturday, is over the flu, but the Irish have other players still dealing with being sick, Kelly said. … Backup offensive tackle Tate Nichols is likely done for the season because of a PCL tear, Kelly said.

tkrausz@jg.net


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