In the words of former head coach Charlie Weis: "That's just not good enough."

Well, sort of.

At the start of 2013 season, the expectations for the Irish consisted of just one thing- return to the National Champonship.

The pieces were there based solely on who was returning even though 3 notables made their journey to the NFL.

The most detrimental blow to the team came in the form of the starting quarterback failing to comply with academic rules, thus forcing his removal from the team.

Since that point, injuries to Tony Springman and Chase Hounshell and the premature career ending of Danny Spond would prove as big a letdown in areas not exploited last year on the defensive side of the ball.

With the start of the 2013 season, promising things came to the surface right out of the gate against Temple with Tommy Rees finding Davaris Daniels often and for big touchdowns. The defense held their own.

The Luck of the Irish appeared to be a factor of little concern so far-all things considered.

Michigan proved 'Luck' wouldn't be the only thing the Irish would need going forward.

The middle of the field in the next few weeks proved to be an area teams would exploit and cash in on often.

Linebackers shifted and twisted and stumbled and receivers had their way as they jaunted down field often on the Irish defense. The vaunted run defense saw holes left open allowing backs to see the second teir way to often.

All well and fine except something that was found on the field with last years defense remained a mystery and the 'x' factor for what has plagued the defense through 6 weeks of football: tackling.

Michigan saw simple over the middle passes turn into a "Keystone Cops" episode and scored with long runs and pass plays.

Purdue and Michigan State also presented issues for the defense- but victories found there way into the hands of the Irish.

Oklahoma used the very same tactics if you will, and turned modest plays into massive yardage gains and a long touchdown for a receiver yet to prove his worth in Sterling Shephard. Plays later in the game revealed defensive backs have yet to figure out how to turn their heads and search for a ball.

And on the horizon comes a team destined for big things, scoring at will and compiling yards at no end. 

Recipe for bad things in South Bend.

The Arizona State Wildcats presented the Irish with a large task considering their woes at the half way point.

A team with a potent offense on the big stage up against a team yet to show their potential. The Irish could have simply folded, allowed the Wildcats to score often as they did the previous week against USC and turned the 2013 Notre Dame season upside down with no answers going forward. 

Gone were title dreams and on the line was a possible BCS bowl invite later in the season. A loss would put the Irish at 3-3 and all but out of the BCS picture.

Luck or something unexplained but defined in 2012 appeared as Notre Dame played perhaps its best defense since USC in 2012 and but for a few errors and poor decisions late prevailed in nearly convincing fashion.

On the big stage the Irish stepped up when the odds were not only against them but clearly not even in their neighborhood at the midway point in 2013.

Some may argue Notre Dame could be 3-3. Its clear they look more and more like a 5-1 team considering how the OU game started and what took place with turnovers against Michigan as well as with OU.

So is 4-2 good enough right now?

All things considered thats more than respectable with 6 games remaining.

What is certain going forward is Notre Dame's defensive future clearly lies with Jaylon Smith. His play has sparked stops and has also inspired others to play with the same intensity. In the Arizona State game Tuit and Nix came to life and Prince Shembo had perhaps his best game in an Irish uniform.

Other signs of life for Notre Dame going forward will be the continued stellar play of the wide receivers. Davaris Daniels, TJ Jones and freshman Corey Robinson have provided Tommy Rees with viable options. Tight end Troy Niklas is also improving and its clear the game planning for coach Brian Kelly not only includes the play of the tight ends as receivers but utilizing them in blocking for his spread attack.

Running backs Tarean Folston and George Atkinson have home run ablities and have shown against OU and Arizona Sate that the running game for the Irish will remain the focal point of the offense going forward.

During the bye week it was revealed freshman all-world back Greg Bryant would see a redshirt due to a knee injury. Speculation and rumors of transferring sparked doubt and concern for Irish faithful looking forward to big things from the heralded freshman. It appears now 2014 will be the year to see Notre Dames most vaunted running back in some time.

New faces on defense include Issac Rochelle and Max Redfield. Both will see more playing time as the Irish begin a stretch of games facing passing offenses in USC,BYU and Air Force.

The hope for Notre Dame going forward will be to continue with what they started versus Arizona State.

A steady passing attack complimented by a tough run game with a defense showing signs of remarked improvement week to week.

Louis Nix and Stephon Tuit remain a force and are improving now that Tuits off season surgery has shown vast signs of healing. The double teams on Nix because of Tuits limitations have afforded offenses time and relaxed circumstances. That appears to be a thing of the past.

The test will remain strong for the Irish as each week their foe will clearly be put into the position of who knocks the Irish off and out of the BCS picture.

A final match in Palo Alto with Stanford could determine the fate for the Irish.

If they play to their potential its clear they hold their own cards and will determine their 2013 seasons final outcome themselves which should be another trip to a BCS bowl game.