The first week of the college football season continues with the No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish hosting the Texas Longhorns Saturday. It's one of the best games of Week 1. Notre Dame harbors hopes of a College Football Playoff appearance, while Texas just wants to get back to its winning ways. Both teams want to get their seasons off to a strong start with a victory.
Notre Dame won 27-24 in 1996 in Austin, Texas.
Notre Dame Outlook:
The Fighting Irish return nine starters on offense, and that doesn't include QB Malik Zaire. With Everett Golson transferring, Zaire is the unquestioned starter. He's got plenty of help, with talented weapons and offensive line that is among the best in the nation. The defense has talent as well, starting with superstar Jaylon Smith. The linebacker is a freak athlete and among the best players in the nation. Notre Dame has the talent to compete with anyone in the nation.
It's been a rough few seasons for Texas. When this game was first scheduled in 2010, it looked like it could be an all-time great matchup. Instead, Texas has fallen on hard times. The biggest issue has been QB play. Tyrone Swoopes is the starter, but he struggled mightily at times last year. Johnathan Gray has the potential to be one of the best RBs in college football if he can stay healthy. The defense should be strong again and head coach Charlie Strong knows how to ensure that happens. True freshman Malik Jefferson could be a superstar in the near future.
What To Watch For: The Quarterbacks
It's Malik Zaire's first season as the starter, and there are some questions. He's a great athlete with a big arm, but it's unclear how good he'll be operating inside the pocket. Turnovers were an issue for Notre Dame last season and that has to change this year. As for Texas, the Longhorns will only go as far as Swoopes lets them. Jerrod Heard will probably play against the Irish, but Swoopes is the starter. He was awful against Baylor and Arkansas last year and has to play better. This game will be a good test for both QBs to see where they are at in their development.
Prediction: Notre Dame Wins 24-13
It'll be a low-scoring affair, as both defenses should be good this season. Texas' defense will keep them in the game, but the offensive struggles will continue. Both QBs will show promise at times, but Zaire will outplay Swoopes. Texas will play multiple freshmen and that will give the Longhorns hope for the future.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed