The 2013 college football season is a third of the way finished. A majority of the teams across the country have four games under their belts (Oklahoma is one of the exceptions after having a bye last week), so team an individual statistics now mean a bit more than they did after one or two games.
Each of Notre Dame's remaining eight opponents this season appears somewhere in the top-50 official NCAA statistics among either the team or individual leaders. Here is a look at the best the Fighting Irish will face over the next two-plus months (with two bye weeks still to go for Notre Dame).
The Sooners bring a 3-0 record into Notre Dame Stadium with wins over Louisiana-Monroe, West Virginia and Tulsa before last week's bye. OU does not have any individuals ranked in the top-50 in any of the major statistical categories, but they are solid in the important team categories.
The Sooners are No. 5 in scoring defense (9.0 ppg), No. 20 in total defense (291.3 ypg), No. 18 in rush defense (100.7 ypg), No. 39 in pass defense (190.7 ypg), No. 24 in total offense (490.3 ypg) and No. 16 in rushing offense (271.7 ypg).
In the win over Tulsa, Blake Bell, who did not start the first two games, passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns and the team ran for 194 yards on 44 carries (4.4 avg).
Along with Oklahoma, the Sun Devils are one of the more balanced offensive/defensive teams Notre Dame will face the rest of the way. ASU is 2-1 after last week's 42-28 loss to Stanford that really was not as close as the final score would indicate.
ASU ranks No. 8 in passing offense (361.3 ypg), No. 35 in scoring offense (38.3 ppg), No. 43 in total offense (469.3 ppg), No 35 in total defense (333 ypg) and No. 17 in pass defense (159 ypg).
The Sun Devils also have a handful of individuals ranked in the top-50 in various categories. Quarterback Taylor Kelly is No. 10 in total offense (354.7 ypg) and is tied with running back Marion Grice at No. 35 in the points responsible for category (48 total points). Kelly has thrown eight touchdowns and Grice has rushed for eight (they are tied with Tommy Rees and Tulane quarterback Nick Montana - the son of Irish great Joe Montana - in that category).
Grice leads the nation with a scoring average of 16.0 points per game. ASU wide receiver Jaelan Strong ranks 33rd in receiving yards (24 catches for 330 yards) to go with two touchdowns.
The Trojans are strong on offense, but lighter on offense. They are 3-1 while ranking No. 11 in scoring defense (11 ppg), No. 4 in total defense (230.5 ypg), and No. 23 in pass defense (171.3). Their loss was an ugly 10-7 home defeat to Washington State and they squeaked-out a 17-14 win over Utah State last Saturday.
Sophomore running back Tre Madden is No. 9 in the nation with 455 rushing yards on 90 carries (5.0 avg). He has rushed for two touchdowns.
USC visits Arizona State this Saturday night. The game will be televised by ESPN2.
The Falcons are just 1-3 with consecutive losses to Utah State, Boise State and Wyoming since a season-opening win over Ivy League foe Colgate. They have yielded an average of 50 points in those three losses.
The Air Force option attack ranks No. 15 nationally in rushing offense (276.3 ypg). Junior linebacker Joey Nichol is tied for 16th with 6.3 solo tackles per game.
The Falcons do rank 19th in the nation in red zone scoring offense (.933). They are 14-of-15 in scoring chances with eight rushing touchdowns and six field goals.
It should come as no surprise that Navy leads the nation in rushing offense (398 ypg), but it seems like Navy's option pretty much always does. The Midshipmen have played just two games though - a 41-35 win over Indiana and a 51-7 victory over Delaware.
Navy is No. 10 in total offense (552 ypg), No. 9 in scoring offense (46 ppg), No. 47 in rushing defense (137.5 ypg) and No. 45 in scoring defense at 21.0 ppg (tied with both Notre Dame and Michigan in that department).
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds also ranks No. 39 in total offense with 270 yards per game (he has actually passed for 152 ypg). Linebackers Cody Peterson and D.J. Sargenti are also at No. 20 nationally with an average of 6.0 solo tackles per game.
The Panthers are 3-1 with a 41-13 loss to Florida State, a 49-27 win over New Mexico and former Irish head coach Bob Davie and a 58-55 win over Duke in their first season in the ACC.
Pitt is No. 40 in total offense (474 ypg), No. 28 in scoring offense (40 ppg) and No. 28 in passing offense (289.7 ppg). They are nowhere to be found though in the defensive top-50 rankings.
First-year starting quarterback Tom Savage is No. 36 in total offense (274.7 ypg), No. 38 in passing yards (861) and is tied for 25th in points responsible for with 54 (9 passing TDs).
Panther senior wide receiver Devin Street is No. 13 with 387 yards, while freshman receiver Tyler Boyd is No. 37 with 314 yards. The two have caught two and four respective touchdowns this season. Freshman running back James Connor is No. 42 in rushing yards (326). Senior DB Jason Hendricks is tied with the two Navy linebackers at No. 20 with 6.0 solo tackles per game.
The Cougars pulled off a 40-21 win at Texas in week two of the season, but that victory is book-ended by losses to Virginia and Utah to sit at 1-2 heading into this Friday's game with Middle Tennessee State.
BYU ranks No. 23 in total offense (494.7 ypg), No. 8 in rushing offense (306.7 ypg), No. 40 in scoring defense (20 ppg) and No. 44 in total defense (356.7 ypg).
Sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill is No. 18 in total offense (321.3 ypg), No. 19 in rushing (400 yards) and No. 20 in passing yards (1,019). Cougar running back Jamaal Williams ranks No. 22 with 378 rushing yards.
Stanford is 3-0 with wins over San Jose State, Army and Arizona State. They did not play during the Aug. 31 opening weekend.
The Cardinal is No. 39 in rush defense (123 ypg), No. 42 in scoring defense (20.3 ppg) and No. 43 in scoring offense (36.7 ppg). Stanford is also No. 1 in red zone scoring offense with 12 scores in as many attempts. They have six rushing touchdowns, three passing touchdowns and three field goals.
Running back Tyler Gaffney, who took last year off while playing minor league baseball, is No. 39 with 331 rushing yards. He has scored five touchdowns in Stanford's three games.