It has been a while, but judging by Notre Dame's undefeated record and impressive wins over Michigan State, Michigan and Miami, the seventh-ranked Fighting Irish are back and playing at an elite level.
So with No. 17 Stanford coming to campus this weekend, the academically-minded schools are set to make history. According to Notre Dame, this Saturday's game will be the first between two schools ranked in the top 20 in the football polls and the U.S. News & World Report's National University rankings.
The U.S. News & World Report's college rankings were first published in 1983.
The two schools have met once before when both were ranked in the top 20 by the football polls. That was exactly 20 years ago, when Stanford handed Notre Dame a 33-16 defeat, the Fighting Irish's only loss of the year.
Entering that game, Stanford was No. 18 and Notre Dame was No. 6 in the football rankings. Stanford was No. 3 in the U.S News university rankings in 1992, when the football team was literally coached by The Genius (Bill Walsh), but Notre Dame was not in the top 25 that year.
In addition to Stanford (6) and Notre Dame (17), the other BCS conference schools ranked in the latestU.S. News & World Report's National University rankings are: Duke (8), Northwestern (12) and Vanderbilt (17).
Just missing out on the top 20 were Cal (tied with Georgetown for No. 21), while USC, UCLA and Virginia were tied for 24th.