The four teams Notre Dame has played -- and beat -- exit Week 4 with a combined 4-11 record, with those four wins over Rice (Texas), William and Mary (Virginia), Alcorn State (Georgia Tech) and Tulane (Georgia Tech).
Does that mean Notre Dame doesn't have a good win yet? Not necessarily, but Texas and Georgia Tech don't look especially strong. The good news for Notre Dame is it'll have a shot at an unquestionably big win Saturday night at Clemson.
Through a third of the season, Notre Dame's opponent power rankings:
1. Clemson (3-0)
2. Stanford (3-1)
3. USC (3-1)
4. Navy (3-0)
5. Temple (3-0)
6. Boston College (3-1)
7. Georgia Tech (2-2)
8. Texas (1-3)
9. Pitt (2-1)
10. Wake Forest (2-2)
11. Virginia (1-3)
12. UMass (0-3)
On to how these teams fared over the weekend:
Texas (1-3): Lost, 30-27, to Oklahoma State
Another week, another special teams disaster for Texas. A week after Nick Rose missed a game-tying PAT late in the fourth quarter, punter Michael Dickson dropped a snap deep in Texas territory and only was able to get off a 10-yard punt with less than a minute left. Oklahoma State drilled the game-winning field goal with six seconds left to send Texas to its third loss of the season. With TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor still left on the Longhorns' schedule, there's no margin for error if Texas wants to reach a bowl -- and this is a Texas team that's made plenty of errors this season.
Virginia (1-3): Lost, 56-14, to Boise State
Matt Johns’ strong showing against Notre Dame looks more and more like a fluke after the ‘Hoos quarterback completed 12 of 25 passes for 199 yards, was picked off three times and replaced by Conner Brewer in the second half. Chances are Virginia will be looking for a new head coach pretty soon after Thanksgiving.
Georgia Tech (2-2): Lost, 34-20, at Duke
So much for Georgia Tech being a playoff resume-building win for Notre Dame, it looks like. Duke jumped out to a 19-3 lead after the first quarter, limited the Yellow Jackets to three yards per carry and forced a pair of turnovers. It’s too early to bury Georgia Tech, but with remaining games against Clemson, Florida State, Miami and Georgia (Clemson and Miami on the road), Paul Johnson could be staring down a pretty mediocre season after looking like a contender for a New Year’s Six bowl a few weeks ago.
Clemson (3-0): Bye
The Tigers last played Sept. 17, so they're in the middle of a 16-day stretch to rest up and prepare for Notre Dame. The only bad news for Dabo Swinney's side is center Ryan Norton was ruled out for the Notre Dame game with a sprained knee.
Navy (3-0): Won, 28-18, at UConn
Some odd coaching decisions by former Irish defensive coordinator Bob Diaco exacerbated a sloppy day for UConn, which attempted five fourth-down attempts and converted only one. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds picked up 142 yards and three touchdowns to tee the Mids up for a rivalry game against Air Force next weekend. Win that, and Navy is undefeated heading to South Bend Oct. 10.
USC (3-1): Won, 42-14, at Arizona State
Adoree' Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster combined for 234 yards and three touchdowns on only eight catches as USC toppled preseason playoff sleeper Arizona State (yikes). The Trojans got back on track both offensively and defensively after a 10-point home loss to Stanford Sept. 19, and only have a Thursday game against Washington separating them from Oct. 17's primetime date with Notre Dame in South Bend.
Temple (3-0): Bye
Matt Rhule’s Owls had a week off to pick up the pieces after needing a walk-off field goal to sneak by UMass Sept. 19. They pick things up with a Friday night game at Charlotte, and don’t have a difficult game on their schedule until facing Notre Dame on Halloween.
Pitt (2-1): Bye
Pitt is sticking with quarterback Nate Peterman, though the bigger problem is figuring out how to replace all-world running back James Conner. An ACC Coastal matchup with Virginia Tech looms next week, with that division completely up for grabs at this point.
Wake Forest (2-2): Lost, 31-24, to Indiana
The Deacs’ two wins are over an FCS team and Army, and this is a program that’s still spinning its wheels at the bottom of the ACC. Quarterback Kendall Hinton, thrust into action after starter John Wolford was injured last week, had an amazingly brutal line: 19/46, 245 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
Boston College (3-1): Won, 17-14, vs. Northern Illinois
Troy Flutie -- Doug Flutie's nephew -- started and completed five of 11 passes for 92 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while running back Jon Hillman rumbled for 119 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Without quarterback Darius Wade, who fractured his ankle against Florida State, Boston College's offense is a work in progress. But this is a very good defense, one that held a team that's legitimately one of the best in the MAC (unlike UMass) to 153 yards.
Stanford (3-1): Won, 42-24, at Oregon State
Christian McCaffery and Barry Sanders combined to rush for 303 yards as the Cardinal pulled away from Oregon State in the second half of a tricky road game. Since scoring six points in a season-opening loss at Northwestern, Stanford’s offense has scored 31, 41 and 42 points. With only two road games remaining — at Washington State and Colorado — don’t sleep on Stanford entering its post-Thanksgiving date with Notre Dame as Pac-12 North champions.