Yes. Yes, he did. He doesn't think they are the second-best team in the country, but they have the "best chance" to run the table and face Florida for all the marbles. The infuriating part is that he's right.
The preseason AP poll came out today and against all logic, the Fighting Irish (a weak 7-6 last year) are No. 23. (Same as the coaches poll.) They return all 11 starter on an offense that wasn't that good, but their schedule (as usual) is a joke. They only have four true road games and get their two toughest opponents at home. The rest are the dregs of the major conferences and the always pesky Navy. They could easily get nine wins against this group and 11-1 isn't inconceivable. And because they're Notre Dame, that would actually be enough.
The scenario Holtz depicts sounds ludicrous on it face, but I can actually see it happening. Watch them slowly climb up the rankings, until one day in December you wake up and they're No. 2 or 3 in the country. No one will believe that they deserve it and you will pull your hair out in frustrated disbelief, but it won't matter. Notre Dame gets what it wants.
Or Charlie Weis will eat his playbook before the Michigan game and they'll go 3-8. It could go either way.