<
>
Insider

Ranking the all-time best Notre Dame Fighting Irish teams

Brian Kelly's 2012 team lost only in the BCS title game to Alabama. Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

Brian Kelly's 2012 Notre Dame squad was the first serious national title contender for the Fighting Irish in nearly 20 years.

Where does that squad place among the greatest Notre Dame teams of all time?

To find out, I set up a customized grading system that measures many factors of Notre Dame's greatest teams.

The system uses a weighted bell curve that places a heavy emphasis on winning national championships but gives significant credit for wins against ranked opponents and for having a large number of players on the first-team or consensus All-American teams. It also awards extra value for high rankings in Sports-Reference.com's simple rating system (SRS) and strength of schedule (SOS) metrics.

This system was designed to allow teams from any era to be compared with one another on a level field. The idea here is that the teams coached by Knute Rockne, Elmer Layden, Frank Leahy and Ara Parseghian should not be punished for playing in eras that had fewer games per season, but rather should be measured on the relative strength of their particular accomplishments.

The system was adjusted to a 0-100 point scale, with 100 being the best ranking a team could possibly achieve.

Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, let's take a look at the top 10 teams in Notre Dame history.