ASU vs. Notre Dame: What's at stake in the national polls

Christian Petersen

Dissecting the national implications of Arizona State's game against Notre Dame this Saturday.

The Sun Devils climbed back into the AP Top 25 after their dismantling of the USC Trojans. It is the second time that Arizona State finds itself in the top 25 this season, the first coming after Arizona State's controversial victory over Wisconsin. The Sun Devils find themselves at No. 22, right in front of Fresno State and behind Oklahoma State.

Arizona State has another chance to prove itself on the big stage on national television against perennial power Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish dropped out of the AP Top 25 after their defeat to Oklahoma last week. Notre Dame is 3-2 on the season.

Arizona State is favored by around six points depending on what sports book you look at. For the second time in three weeks, Arizona State plays on network television, meaning this game against Notre Dame carries a lot of national implications.

A Sun Devil Win

The Sun Devils have their best chance yet to make an impression on east coast voters. Those voters are typically asleep when Arizona State plays on Saturday nights. This game, a 7:30 eastern start, is primetime for east coast media and the Sun Devils need to take advantage of that.

The last time Arizona State played in primetime on a national broadcast, they fell behind 29-0 at the half to Stanford. Arizona State has a chance to make up for that poor performance on Saturday.

A Sun Devil victory will most likely propel them into the top 20. Even though Notre Dame is not ranked in either poll, they are in the "others receiving votes" category in both polls.

Arizona State would prove to a national audience that they can compete with the nation's premier programs. Even though Notre Dame is not ranked, the Irish are a very talented team whose two losses have come against ranked teams.

A Notre Dame win

If the Fighting Irish beat the Sun Devils, they could jump back into the top 25. No. 25 Maryland travels to face Florida State and No. 24 Ole Miss faces Auburn on the road so both those teams have a chance to lose.

It is very plausible that if Notre Dame wins they could jump into Arizona State' spot at No. 22. Fresno State, who is ranked 23rd, plays a 1-4 Idaho team.

After Arizona State, Notre Dame does not play a ranked opponent until November 30 when they travel to Palo Alto, Calif. to play Stanford. The Fighting Irish play USC and BYU at home this year so there is a good opportunity for Notre Dame to rattle off some wins in the coming weeks.

A Sun Devil loss

If the Sun Devils lose a close game there is a chance they stay inside the AP poll. If Arizona State battles, and loses on a late field goal or touchdown, they will probably stay inside the top 25. Especially since No. 25 Maryland will likely lose this week.

If the Sun Devils get blown out they will almost certainly fall out of the national rankings and have to work their way back in. Arizona State won't have a chance to reenter the polls until after their October 19 meeting with Washington.

A Notre Dame loss

If the Fighting Irish lose, they will fall to 3-3 and will have some work to do if they want to receive a ranking. Notre Dame should be favored in their next five games after Arizona State, but 3-3 after six games is not where Brian Kelly's team wants to be coming off a national championship game appearance.

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