Notre Dame is 1-3 and already well out of the College Football Playoff picture, and the most consequential thing to come from the rest of this Irish season is whether Brian Kelly stays in his job or not.
Kelly already fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder after last week's loss to Duke, with the Irish defense sitting around 100th nationally in most key metrics. Whether Kelly will stay at Notre Dame himself beyond this year is now a wholly reasonable question, and how the Irish play the last two thirds of the season will probably matter to at least some degree. Who knows how much, though, given the sky-high expectations Notre Dame always faces? Whether Kelly's fired or not, he's already found himself on the LSU post-Les Miles rumors tracker.
The Irish still have a game this week, though. They're played a flawed but dangerous Syracuse team at the Carrier Dome, and the game could be pretty fun in a vacuum. The Orange can score, so the Irish had better be ready.
How to watch, stream and listen
TV: Noon ET, ESPN. The broadcasters are Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Allison Williams.
Radio: Notre Dame and Syracuse
Online streaming: WatchESPN
Spread: The Irish opened favored by 12, but the spread's been getting smaller.
Make friends: Get to SB Nation’s team blog chats for this game at One Foot Down (for Notre Dame fans) and Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician (for Cuse fans).
Three big things to know
1. A lot falls on Eric Dungey, Syracuse's sophomore QB. But not a lot is certain about his status. Dungey got treatment this week for an undisclosed injury, and Orange head coach Dino Babers hasn't said anything substantive about his status. Dungey is a talented dual threat, and his absence or weakening would make it a lot harder for Syracuse to pull off an upset, whether the Notre Dame defense is in shambles or not.
2. Syracuse has a receiver who's lighting up the sport. Maryland grad transfer Amba Etta-Tawo wasn't a huge threat during his Terrapins career, but he's morphed into a world-beater for the Orange. He's already got two 200-yard receiving games and enters the Orange's fifth game with a stat line that almost doesn't make sense: 40 catches on 52 targets, for 706 yards and five touchdowns. That's something else.
3. Notre Dame's offense should still, in theory, be dangerous. The Irish are scoring 37 points per game, which would be the best offensive season in Kelly's tenure in South Bend. DeShone Kizer's been excellent, leading a strong passing attack that includes three prolific receivers. They've all been dragging along a running game that nets a paltry 4.3 yards per carry. Maybe a date with Syracuse, which gives up a 5-yard average, is just what the Irish need.