A look at Notre Dame, Navy

Notre Dame delivers peak performances under only the most challenging of circumstances.

Updated: November 9, 2004, 4:38 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to ESPN.com
They are a schizophrenic bunch, these Fighting Irish.

Nine weeks into the season, the Irish must be classified as unpredictable, a troupe that delivers peak performances under only the most challenging of circumstances.

Notre Dame penned the latest chapter in an exciting yet maddening year by stunning Tennessee last Saturday at Neyland Stadium. Two weeks after collapsing against Boston College, the Irish displayed tremendous poise under harsh conditions to secure bowl eligibility.

Coach Tyrone Willingham likened the win to triumphs over Michigan and Florida State two years ago. But given the pressure Willingham is under to produce this year, it's hard not to place the Tennessee victory at the top of his résumé as Irish coach.