It seems they are doing this purely based on rankings, however we have suffered a great deal of attrition in key spots and, just like the issue we had under Weis, we have failed to fill classes in all needed areas. Still, we have more than enough player talent to beat the likes of Northwestern and Duke and Texas and Michigan State and Navy (!) and on and on.
What these rankings do tell me, though, is that while the current climate may not permit us to be in same atmosphere as Alabama or Ohio State just from a recruit access standpoint (the Reuben Foster's of the world are not coming to ND), we still, despite ResLife and the remaining academic restrictions, can attract talent. And we have done this with a head coach who is not known for his recruiting prowess--although I'm sure recruits are mesmerized by his chameleon like ability to change colors like a fat, Irish mood ring. It's equally amazing that we can still be at this level given everything and yet heartbreaking that we can't do better by young men who pass up far easier paths to be part of our community.