We've met that goal just three times in the last 20 years. And even in those three years, we had 7 losses by an average of 23 points (only one of them was less than 20 points).
Even if there were an NCAA rule that said under no circumstances shall Notre Dame ever win a championship, someone needs to explain why we can't even manage to be good. 9-4 is ok for an off year. It is not good. And at the moment, it is probably our ceiling for this year.
We are top-14 in virtually every input to the program - facilities, recruiting, fans, and even coaching if you ask someone who has been sleeping for the last four days. So why have we cracked the top 14 only twice in the last 19 years? In that time, 65 different teams have made it in the top 14 - more than half of FCS schools - and we could only make it twice.
A list of schools ranked by most top-14 finishes since 1996:
14: Ohio State
11: Alabama, LSU
10: Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas
9: Florida State, Michigan
8: Kansas State, USC
7: Auburn, Miami, Tennessee, Virginia Tech
6: Boise State, Nebraska, TCU, Wisconsin
5: Michigan State, Penn State
4: South Carolina, Iowa, Stanford, Washington State
3: Arizona State, Baylor, BYU, Louisville, Ole Miss, UCLA, West Virginia
2: Arkansas, California, Clemson, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Utah, and Notre Dame.