NEW YORKKansas State and Oregon are now on course to play for the BCS national championship.
After Alabama was upset by Texas A&M, the new BCS standings have the Wildcats (.9674) first and the Ducks (.9497) second.
Notre Dame (.9396) is third, not too far behind, but most likely in need of a loss by Oregon or Kansas State to reach the title game on Jan. 7 in Miami.
The Notre Dame coach made his case on Sunday for a Top 2 spot in the polls that would allow the Fighting Irish to play for a national championship. Oregon and Kansas State may be getting a lot of attention with their high-powered offenses, but Kelly said Notre Dame's defense is every bit as impressive.
"Each team has their own distinctions. The distinction of this football team is it's the No.1 scoring defense in the country," he said on a conference call with reporters a day after a 21-6 victory over Boston College helped the Irish move up to No. 3 in The Associated Press Top 25.
"It's proven that against very, very good teams all year. ... If you look at national championship-caliber football, you've got to look at a defense, and so that's why we feel strongly that our football team has put themselves in the discussion. We'll let others decide, but I think we've played our way into the discussion."
As for Alabama's run at three championships in four seasons, and the Southeastern Conference's string of six straight BCS titles, both need help to continue.
The official BCS standings:
1. Kansas State
3. Notre Dame
8. Texas A&M
9. South Carolina
10. Florida State
16. Oregon State
19. Southern California
20. Louisiana Tech
21. Texas Tech
24. Oklahoma State