Notre Dame is 7-2 and winners of four games in a row, but the Irish have rarely been blowing out their opponents this season. Of course, Notre Dame didn't do that last year either en route to an undefeated regular season.
Notre Dame has now won 10 straight games decided by a touchdown a or less. That's the longest streak in Division 1-A football and the 3rd longest streak since 1980.
Many of those close games have come against teams the Irish were expected to defeat by a larger margin.
"You are saying I haven't covered and you are upset that I haven't covered?," Irish coach Brian Kelly jokingly responded when point spreads were brought up at his Tuesday press conference.
"I guess I look at the games differently than the public does. Winning in college football is hard each and every work. Teams play us so hard. You have Navy guys--grown men--in tears they played so hard. I look at it different. We just look at our team to get better in what we do, regardless of how we do it--we just want to get better."
Notre Dame escaped with a 38-34 win over Navy this past Saturday. It was another game where the Irish were heavy favorites but were in a fight to the finish.
"there is a lot of pressure at Notre Dame," Kelly said referring to what was on the line for his players. "There's a lot of scrutiny. There were nine lead changes in the game. I'm proud of the way we competed and won that football game. More so than what they were supposed to do, what they did do was more important to me."
The Irish open as 3.5 point favorites on the road at Pittsburgh Saturday.
"Pittsburgh-Notre Dame have been a part of some exciting games during my tenure at Cincinnati and here," Kelly explained. "We all know about last year's game."
Last year's game was a perfect example of a Notre Dame team expected to win easily and instead coming away with the win one way or another in close fashion. The Irish fell behind 20-6 in the contest and rallied to win in overtime to keep their undefeated regular season alive.
"They don't seem to like Notre Dame very much and they wanna beat Notre Dame," Kelly said of Pittsburgh. "It's one of those games where you know you're going to go in and it's going to be a fight."
It always seems to be for the Irish.
Kickoff Saturday is set for 8pm.