How Irish would fare in the SEC

Tyler Elfert and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have had a terrific season so far. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

One of the issues for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their quest to reach the BCS title game is that they keep running into the old adage that says perception is reality.

The perception in this case is that no schedule gantlet is as tough as the matchup slate that teams in the top conferences have to go through.

That maxim is part of the reason that, despite beating the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman this past Saturday, the Irish are still rated behind the Oregon Ducks and Kansas State Wildcats in the Harris and USA Today polls, and are thus likely to finish outside of the BCS title game if every team in the top four of the BCS rankings runs the table the rest of the season.

This likely wouldn't be happening if the Irish were part of a major conference like the SEC, but the truth of the matter is that Notre Dame's schedule this year is just as tough as any SEC club. What's more, when their metrics are reviewed, it is clear that the Irish are the type of team that could go toe-to-toe with any SEC club, up to and including Alabama.

A claim of this caliber may sound hyperbolic at first, but let's examine the facts.

The Irish have the aforementioned road win over Oklahoma, which is only the fifth loss the Sooners have suffered at home in the Bob Stoops era, so that is a huge feather in Notre Dame's schedule cap.