Notre Dame Season Preview

The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are coming off their most successful season in recent memory after an undefeated regular season and national title game appearance. The defense that was at one time ranked number one in the nation loses only three of eleven starters and figures to not lose much on that side of the ball. On the other side of the ball, the most prolific tight end in school history Tyler Eifert departs as well as senior work horses Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. Leading wide receivers TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels return as does starting quarterback Everett Golson. The Irish also add a consensus top five recruiting class headlined by stars OLB Jaylon Smith, DT Eddie Vanderdoes, FS Max Redfield and running back Greg Bryant. The coaching staff stayed in tact, a critical component to success this year. Notre Dame fans across the nation expect another 10+ win season. Anything less would be regarded as a failure.


First game: Temple

This game had ought to be a blowout. Yes Temple is an program making positive strides, but they are simply not in the same league as Notre Dame. If this game is close, its going to be a long year for the Irish faithful.

Second game: @ Michigan

As the series with the rival Wolverines draws to a close, each game becomes increasingly meaningful and intense. The last two years the games between these two have been close, once with Michigan winning and once with Notre Dame. Michigan looks to have a dismal offense this year after losing Denard Robinson and most of their playmakers. Had the Notre Dame offense been as good as it should be this year, last year’s contest wouldn’t have even been close. Now that the Irish offense should be elevated to the level of their defense, theres no reason to think UM poses any significant threat to Notre Dame. Look for ND to win by three scores at least.

Third game: @ Purdue

Purdue is a program that never seems to be able to get it together on the field. At times, they show signs of brilliance and at other times seem utterly lost on the gridiron. ‘Inconsistent’ would be a good word for the Boilermakers. Notre Dame should win this one soundly despite playing in West-Lafayette.

Fourth game: Michigan State

Since the trick play that beat Notre Dame in Brian Kelly’s first year as coach of the program, the Irish have had the Spartan’s number. MSU is consistently a solid football team and this should be one of the first real challenges for Notre Dame. Everett Golson had his coming out party against Michigan State last year and another brilliant performance will be needed to beat them. The game may be close, but ultimately Notre Dame is simply the more talented team and while it would not be shocking for them to lose, ND should win this one.

Fifth game: Oklahoma

This past season Notre Dame beat Oklahoma soundly in Norman, sending a message that their program was back on top. It seems as though every year OU is “overrated,” a very talented team that just can’t seem to put it together for a championship run. Nonetheless, the Sooners are a very good team and this may be the first Irish loss for the year. That said, there is no reason to believe Notre Dame won’t be competitive and stand a shot at winning. The Sooners will be breaking in a new quarterback and the Irish defense looks to be stout. I believe that Notre Dame will win this game in exciting fashion in Notre Dame stadium.

Sixth game: Arizona State

ASU will be a good team this year, though not near the quality of the Irish. Notre Dame has got more talent and depth all around the field. I expect Notre Dame to win this game as they matchup well with the Sun Devils and should thoroughly beat them in all aspects of the game.

Seventh game: USC

Coming off a bye week, Brian Kelly will have ample time to prepare his team for the Trojans who are coming off a disappointing season. The Trojans looked lost often last year and it would not be surprising at all if this were the last year Lane Kiffin had at the helm at Southern Cal. The USC program is bothered by sanctions and generally too unstable to withstand the fierce Notre Dame team and this game will be won handily by the Irish.

Eighth game: @ Air Force

Air Force has a tricky offense, but as a service academy they are simply less talented and should be physically dominated by better groomed players. At the Air Force, there are too many other priorities for players to worry about than football, so I fully expect this to be a blowout in Notre Dame’s favor.

Ninth game: Navy

The same idea for Air Force generally applies for Navy. Stop the triple option, and the game is won. Simple as that for ND. Another blowout victory against the Midshipmen.

Tenth game: @ Pitt

Pitt is a below average team and lost their would-be leading rusher for personal reasons before his career even really took off. Honestly, the Panthers are not nearly as talented or deep as Notre Dame, but the Irish have been prone to have a slip up game in the past. Pitt almost pulled off the upset last year and it wouldn’t be surprising if another close game was played out this year at Heinz field. That said, expect Notre Dame to win big.

Eleventh game: BYU

A battle of the faiths, Mormons vs. Catholics should result in a victory for the Catholics yet again. BYU doesn’t have the firepower to keep up with Notre Dame on either side of the ball, so its not outlandish to think the Irish will roll over BYU and send them back to Salt Lake City with a loss.

Twelfth game: Stanford

If there is a toss up game on the Irish schedule, its this one. Stanford is a force, fresh off a Rose Bowl appearance. These schools offer the best combination of football and academics and match up fairly evenly. I’ll give a slight edge to Notre Dame, but it will take everything the Irish have to pull this W out. They will presumably be favored, but I expect College Gameday to be there as this could be a clash between two undefeated titans with National title game implications.

It is important to note that while theoretically Notre Dame should win every game on their schedule, the strain of playing high-level D1 football schools week after week can take its toll and anything from injuries to suspension could derail another undefeated regular season and national title game appearance for the Irish.


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