Notre Dame enters November in a very good position.
They are 8-0 and ranked #4 in the College Football Playoff rankings. If the Irish win their remaining four games, they should be in the final four for the first time.
But it's that winning part that has proved tricky this time of year.
After going 10-1 in November his first three seasons, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has gone just 9-12 since, including two losses last year to Miami and Stanford that derailed their promising start.
Since then, Kelly has committed to building his team for November, and he believes last year's experience will help this time around.
"I think it's much more about having a football team that's experienced it, been through it, and wanting to get on the other side of it," Kelly said. "They have a process that they know has gotten them here. They've won 18 games over the last two years and lost three. They know the process works. They've got four weeks, so I think they feel like if we just stay committed to our process, if we stay humble, if we really work on our recovery, be prepared for the next guy to step in, then they'll be fine."
For their part, the players said the difference has been dramatic compared to last season.
"We thought we were working hard, but looking back, you could just tell we were complacent," junior cornerback Julian Love said. "Now, it feels like those rankings didn't even come out. We were attacking it so hard today, especially at practice, because we know that that can't happen again."
"It's really tough to win in November, a lot of teams know that," junior quarterback Ian Book said. "We don't like to look back and I don't even remember what it was like last November, but just sticking to our process and not thinking about what can happen and just taking it week by week. We've got four games to go, and just make it smaller and think that we have four weeks to do this thing."
The Irish take on Northwestern Saturday night at 7pm in Evanston.