Matt’s Take:

After Notre Dame’s “impressive” 13-6 win over Michigan Saturday, the question of whether or not the Fighting Irish were “back” was posed.
I remember sitting on my couch and laughing to myself at the thought of such question.
Has anyone watched the Golden Domers this season? When you only beat a terrible Wolverines team by 7, after they spotted you six turnovers, I’m not impressed. Wins over Purdue and Navy don’t get my juices flowing either.
At 4-0, the Irish are off to their best start since 2002, which isn’t saying much. I’m not quite sure I understand what all the talk is about.
Hell, Notre Dame hasn’t been relevant in the National Championship scene since winning their last title in 1988. If you are not contending for a championship at least twice a decade, it’s hard for me to take your squad seriously.
With games against Stanford, Oklahoma and the University of Southern California still on the schedule, we’ll see if Notre Dame is “back.” Look for the Irish to finish 1-2 in those games.
As much as everyone in the sports world wants the Irish to be relevant again, I just don’t see it happening yet. Sure, they can get boatloads of talent, purely based on the fact they are Notre Dame and they have some guy nicknamed “Touchdown Jesus” on campus.
But, how has that worked for them lately?
Honestly, it’s only a matter of time before the Irish show their true colors, especially with an indecisive head coach who is creating his own QB controversy, as much as he denies one exists.
I’m turning over the hourglass.
The implosion begins in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Andrew’s take:

Want to know why Notre Dame isn’t “back?” Because they never left.
Sure, it’s been a quarter of century since their last national championship, but they haven’t stopped being a national factor. Whether the Domers are on track for the title game or not (almost never), Notre Dame is always going to sign top-notch talent and make more money than anyone else.
They’re the New York Yankees of college football.
I know that sports comparison is a cliché, but it’s most relevant when referring to the Fighting Irish. You can’t compare the Dallas Cowboys or the Detroit Red Wings to the Bombers; they’re not as dominant. And, sometimes, they just don’t matter. The Yankees and the Irish always matter.
Even if they can’t win a game, that five-star recruit that is running around Notre Dame Stadium could have gone to Ohio State or Alabama. But he didn’t. And that player’s decision to move to South Bend probably kept the crystal football out of the hands of another coach.
But, back to the original prompt: Is Notre Dame back?
Like can they win it all? Based on the first four games, I’d say they have a chance.
It’s not probable by any means, especially considering the deadly schedule that lies ahead. But Notre Dame has finally constructed a team the right way; defense first.
How many consecutive championships does the SEC have to win before the rest of the country follows suit?
I know it’s not the same in the pros, but in college football, defense wins championships. And based on the last six years, that’s not debatable. It’s going to happen again this year.
If Notre Dame is going to win it all, it will be because of the D. Brian Kelly knows this.
This is only the beginning. It probably won’t be this season, but expect Notre Dame to play in the BCS Championship very soon.