- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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The first BCS standings Sunday revealed the same things the eighth Associated Press and USA Today coaches' polls revealed: Notre Dame is the No. 5 team in the country.
The computers love the Irish, who come in at No. 2 in that category behind Florida. The Gators are No. 2 overall in the BCS standings, trailing Alabama.
The Irish's BCS ranking is their highest since the week of Nov. 19, 2006, when they were No. 5. They hadn't been No. 5 in either the AP or the coaches' poll since the week of Sept. 10, 2006, when they were No. 2 in the AP poll and No. 3 in the coaches' poll.
Coach Brian Kelly said on a teleconference earlier Sunday that he doesn't gauge his team's interest in such midseason accolades, but he acknowledged they are no small feats.
"They watch TV," Kelly said of his players. "I mean, they see that. There's a sense of pride. There's no question that when you're talked about and you're putting Notre Dame up there in the top five, there's a sense of pride.
"I just have to make sure that they understand that with that pride comes a greater obligation to do the thing the right way. I think that's how we'll handle it."
With Notre Dame likely to be favored in four of its final six games, logic suggests the Irish would only need to take care of business to reach a BCS bowl game, as a 10-win Notre Dame squad would be a major attraction to any of the major bowls.
As an independent, that would be the closest thing to a season goal for Kelly and his players.
"We don't have a tie-in obviously from a conference standpoint, so if we're talking about postseason, the only thing that we talk about is really the Bowl Championship Series," the third-year Irish coach said. "Championship football for us at Notre Dame, I think you can make the conclusion that it equals BCS."