Brian Kelly has no intentions of bringing up 1993 or 2002 to his team this week as the 8-0, 3rd ranked Irish prepare to face Pittsburgh.
The Irish were in the exact same position heading into week nine in 2002. They improved to 8-0 after a top ten win over Florida State, then lost at home to Boston College. In 1993, Notre Dame became the #1 team in the country with a win over the Seminoles only to losing out on a chance for the national title with a loss to BC the following week.
“History will have no affect on how this team plays," Kelly said Tuesday. "What we do during the week affects how this team plays.”
Kelly says he ws proud of the way his team played on the road at 8th ranked Oklahoma Saturday.
“Not getting caught in the moment, the atmosphere, our guys stayed disciplined," Kelly explained. "The little things that go towards winning. Their discipline approach every day is starting to carry over. Teams will continue to win they exhibit the same habits each day.”
Notre Dame now welcomes in a 4-4 Pittsburgh team that has been up and down this season, but is coming off a 47-17 win over Temple.
The Irish have defeated Pitt each of the last two season, but both games were closer than expected.
“A team that has played us extremely well since I’ve been here,"Kelly explained. "This is a team that has found itself.”
The Panthers are on their 3rd head coach in three seasons but Kelly feels Paul Chryst has done an excellent job in year one and has the Panthers playing well.
Tino Sunseri is back to lead the Panthers offense.
“He's really matured as a quarterback," Kelly said of Sunseri. "I'm really impressed with his play this year. Not turning the ball over. Last year, he was going through what we were going through. He’s a veteran and playing like it.”
Ray Graham is also back after a season ending injury last October. Graham had three touchdowns in the win over Temple.
“We have a great deal of respect for Graham," Kelly said. "Coming back from an injury, he’s really coming into form.”
Notre Dame and Pitt will kickoff at 3:30 Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Countdown to Kickoff gets you started at 2:30 on Channel 16.