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2 days kids, were merely 2 days away from the greatness that is college football. This will be your prototypical tl;dr type post, with a definitive ND slant to lead off….you’ve been warned. My plan is to do my week 1 picks tomorrow so I can get in the Thursday games, and then a broader post on the whole shebang on Thursday. For tonight, just some ND thoughts after the jump…
Usually I do a game by game prediction for how I think Notre Dame’s year will play out. However, this year I just can’t do it. I have absolutely no clue as to what’s about to happen. I feel safe in calling wins over Tulsa, Army and Western Michigan, but beyond that, I don’t feel like I can say without a doubt, buckets, put it on the board. Outside of that, even the opener against Purdue….there’s just too many questions. Since the days of Matt Lovecchio running out the kindergarten version of Urban Meyer’s now famous spread (it’s true, EDSBS as always knows as seen here) there haven’t been this many questions surrounding the Irish. Sure people weren’t sure what to expect with Weis’ first year, but we had seen Quinn before. Hell, even with Carlyle running the option there was some idea of what was going to happen. But now….New offense, new QB, questions on scheme and players all over the field….this team could go many different ways. I’ve tried to go down the list several times and come up with drastically different predictions each time, it’s just a crap shoot. My hope? I think 8 wins is a reasonable guess. Sure Crist is a fairly unknown commodity, but this is a 5* recruit, and in his limited time, we did see some beautiful plays like this:
Throw in having one of the top WRs in the country in Michael Floyd, the best TE in the country in Kyle Rudolph, and a cadre of excellent running backs, and you can’t help but be pumped. Especially when you look at the success Coach Kelly has had with his offenses in Cinci. The problem, as it has been the last few years, is the questions with the D. The Tenuta experiment failed in a miserable fashion last year sadly. ND will once again switch to a 3-4 D from the 4-3. Kelly’s Cinci teams liked to control the run with blitzes from the ILB spots quite often, and on the pass force QBs into quick, and often stupid decision. With the insane talent Manti Te’o displayed in his FR year, I’m more than happy for him to have a ton of responsibility on his shoulders this year. That being said, the defense was pretty abysmal last year. It’s not hard to fall into the trap that bad players will get better because of experience, everyone tends to believe this. But for the Irish to have any shot at doing anything worthwhile this year
Notre Dame has a strange schedule this year. While their opening stretch doesn’t feature any world beaters, the first 6 are at the same time very winnable and very losable. Purdue and Michigan should both be wins. Purdue just flat out isn’t that good, and Rich Rod has made no fans in Ann Arbor (#isawhore) in his limited time there. But that didn’t stop the Irish from dropping a game to them last year did it? Michigan St could be a sleeper in the Big Tenleventwelve this year. Stanford honestly terrifies me due to the fact that Andrew Luck is a fantastic QB and Jim Harbaugh is a fantastic coach. BC and Pitt….I don’t have a clue, same goes for Utah. We should beat Utah and BC I think. Then closing out with USC. I’m hoping good ole Kiffykins will have half of the team suspended for sanctions or whatever other idiocy he can come up with. But without that, we couldn’t beat them at their lowest point in a decade last year, so who knows? I really think the Irish should win 8 games this year, I think there is the potential for a lot more. But at the same time….I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a decent bit worse. I would be emotionally devastated to an unhealthy level still, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Here’s hoping I’m just being conservative. Come back tomorrow for the week 1 picks and your chance to play along.