Notre Dame's BCS prospects are not quite golden

The Fighting Irish are rarely passed over for anything good, but at No. 3 in BCS standings, they probably need Kansas State or Oregon to lose to reach title game.

Top-ranked Alabama's stunning-if-you-say-so home defeat Saturday narrowed the national-scope scenarios but also raised the gun barrels of anxiety — especially in South Bend.

The idea that Notre Dame could ever be left out of anything seems preposterous given the school's golden-dome history.

Notre Dame, after all, has its own network contract and is guaranteed a BCS berth any year it finishes in the top eight.

Major bowls can't wait to push other applicants out of the way any year the Fighting Irish meet the nine-win and top-14 ranking minimums.

Things, though, have gotten suddenly serious.

Alabama's loss to Texas A&Manziel bumped three undefeated teams up in the order, the problem being only two can play for the title and No. 3 is Notre Dame.

Kansas State is No. 1 in the BCS for the first time in school history despite being No. 2 in both polls used in the BCS formula.

Oregon is No. 2 despite being No. 1 in the polls and Notre Dame is No. 3 in the BCS despite being No. 1 in the computers.

See how much sense the BCS makes?

Notre Dame is already antsy enough, having not won a national crown since 1988, breaking the numerically ordered sequence following the Irish's titles of 1966 and '77.

What happened in 1999?

There is no beating around the bend that Notre Dame will be snubbed out of the BCS title game if Oregon and Kansas State win out.

Oregon is eye candy in all major indexes and taking care of its remaining schedule would mean defeating Stanford, Oregon State and either UCLA or USC — all ranked in this week's BCS top 20.

Kansas State's only fear in winning out against Baylor and Texas is dropping to No. 2 behind Oregon.

The BCS has given a lot to Notre Dame, but it might also take.

Irish fans can put their complaints in the pile next to USC in 2003, Auburn in 2004, Michigan in 2006 and Utah in 2008.

Are we forgetting anyone?

Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly grew up in Massachusetts as the son of an alderman. He campaigned for Gary Hart in 1984 and considered politics for a career before opting for the much more cutthroat business of college football.

Kelly promised only last week he would not stoop so low as to campaign for his own team.

"It doesn't do anything," he said. "The only thing that does is winning football games."