Notre Dame is dropping in the polls (it fell from third to fourth in the BCS standings on Sunday).
The Fighting Irish strength of scheduling is weakening with each passing week.
And the weather is turning colder.
None of these various things are of concern to Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly because he can't control any of them. With that thought in mind, he doesn't discuss the polls, other teams' results, the factors that may or may not influence his team rising in the BCS standings, or the weather, with his players.
“If it helped, you know me, I could talk all day,” Kelly said. “If it really helped I would be on the stump for it, but it doesn't do anything.
The only thing that does is winning football games, so I try spending all my time and energy focused on how we can get another win and getting to 10 (wins). That's really where we're at right now: How do we get to 10?”
Kelly has led his team to nine victories – barely – now he has to figure out a way to make sure his team is prepared to beat rival Boston College on Saturday (8 p.m., ABC).
After surviving against a 4-4 Pittsburgh team last week in South Bend 29-26 in triple overtime, Kelly is stressing the importance of focusing on playing to your potential, regardless of the Eagles' 2-7 record. That is something that the coach can control.
“I told the football team that they had the heart of a champion in the way that they battled through triple overtime,” Kelly explained. “But now that we understand that we will fight to the end of a battle, we've got to have the head of a champion, too. The head of a champion to understand that each and every week you're going to get the opposition's very best.
We have to be able to understand that when we play the game on Saturday. As I mentioned, I like the way we prepared all last week. We need to play better.”
With an unimpressive effort against the Panthers, plus factoring in mediocre opposition (the Irish play Wake Forest next week), many feel that Notre Dame will be left out of the national championship game picture, even if they finish unbeaten in its 12 regular season games. And Kelly understands that could indeed happen.
“The way the BCS is set up right now, if you have more than two undefeated teams you can't control it,” Kelly said. “Now, in two years when you have four teams that can play (in the playoff system), yeah, now you can control things a little bit more. You may be talking more about your teams. But you can't now.
Maybe in two years you'll find me talking a lot more about it.”
So in the meantime, Kelly is strictly focusing on what he can control, and that is the amount of preparation his squad spends dealing with the subject at hand, that being Boston College.
“Our guys know,” Kelly said. “We were here late watching film. They saw the film. They know what they can do better. This is a smart group of guys, and we made certain that we spent a lot of time watching film and making sure that our guys understand what they need to do.
They clearly know how they need to play this game.”