Chicago — If Notre Dame is the fourth-best college football team in the nation, then I'm a supermodel.
Please, Domers, don't be offended. And stop looking at my legs.
You believe down to your Kelly green underwear that Notre Dame is back where it belongs and that coach Charlie Weis has been put on this Earth to bring national championships back to South Bend.
You should believe. That's what you do best. You're truer to your school than anybody I know. But this isn't about you or even your team. This is about hype. This is about thick, bloated hype and the way it drags down otherwise clear-thinking people. Something happens to the media when it comes to Notre Dame, and it's not pretty.
Apparently, any day that includes the words "shillelagh," "Touchdown Jesus" and "wake up the echoes" is a good day in the media business.
The Irish, ranked second at the time, hung on to beat Georgia Tech, 14-10, on Saturday night in Atlanta. Now, it's quite possible the unranked Yellow Jackets are a lot better than most people originally thought. They have a good quarterback, a good running game and a great receiver. They certainly made Notre Dame work.
But if the Irish were the second-best team in the country at the time, then Georgia Tech must have been a top-10 team. And I didn't see that either.
It's nice to know that logic, upon occasion, can prevail. Despite the victory, Notre Dame dropped from second to fourth in the Associated Press media poll Tuesday. But, trust me, a decisive victory over 19th-ranked Penn State this week and we'll be talking about the shabby treatment Notre Dame received at the hands of the voters.
This is what we have been able to glean about the Irish from the early-season coverage:
It's a race to see whether Weis will be accepted for membership into Mensa before he's elevated to sainthood. If he legally changed his name to Coach Guru, no one would bat an eye. He will never, ever be outcoached, though give Bob Davie credit for having the temerity to question some of Weis' decisions during the broadcast.
Quarterback Brady Quinn is the second coming of Joe Montana, even if he looked like Ron Powlus at times Saturday. Two-sport star Jeff Samardzija is Jim Thorpe. Boxer-safety Tom Zbikowski is the tough-as-nails kid who would just as soon hit you with an uppercut as a shoulder pad. They might be college students, but we already know as much about them as any NFL star.
Notre Dame - and we have this on good authority-has a hallowed tradition.
Ball all of that up and you have yourself a No. 4 ranking.
The fascinating thing about Weis is he doesn't do anything to counteract the hyperventilation. And he has done nothing to stop the push for his beatification. Either he sees recruiting benefits in it or he believes it himself.
Being overrated is not Notre Dame's fault.
It's the fault of all of us who buy into the Irish mystique, to the point where we can't separate fact from superstition. I see a team with potential. I don't see a top-five team.