Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday that he thought Manti Te'o's 10-tackle performance against Miami this past weekend was his best game of the season, and it came following a bye week that saw the senior return home to Hawaii to bury his grandmother while becoming the subject of all sorts of national attention.
"I would say that if there was a concern for me it was going to be this weekend, because obviously there was some travel there, coming back and all the things that went on," Kelly said of Te'o. "Emotionally you might think the average person would have a little bit of a dip in energy and focus and it turned out to be the opposite. He was dynamic as a playmaker."
The linebacker has jumped a spot in each of the past three weeks, with the Irish steadily climbing as well, up two spots this week.
Geno Smith remains the man to beat in the Heisman Watch, gaining all 15 first-place votes. If the predictions of colleagues Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards prove correct, the Irish will be getting an up-close look at Smith and West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl. There would be no shortage of storylines between the end of the regular season and that game, especially if each team were to send a candidate to New York.
As always, here are my weekly ballots:
3) South Carolina
5) West Virginia
6) Kansas State
7) Notre Dame
8) Ohio State
9) Oregon State
20) Mississippi State
22) Texas A&M
23) Louisiana Tech
24) Iowa State