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2014 NOTRE DAME PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS

RANK NOTRE DAME COMMENTS
#1 PROJECTED RECORD: 7-5; OFFENSE: At this point it looks like the Irish return just 4 starters from last year’s offense that scored 27.2PPG. A lot of Irish fans expected offensive fireworks when Brian Kelly took over as HC, but ND has yet to average 30+PPG in Kelly’s tenure & that prospect doesn’t look promising in 2014. QB Everett Golson returns from having a year off due to academic ineligibility & it will be interesting to see what he brings to the table. Even Kelly has hinted that Golson was more lucky than good in ND’s 12-0 run in 2012. Offensively the Irish really need RBs Tarean Folston & Greg Bryant to come through. Both are incredibly talented if not incredibly young. ND did have DaVaris Daniels coming back at WR but that looks suspect now meaning the most experienced WR ND has is Chris Brown who caught 15 passes. TE Ben Koyack is expected to be an All-American but so far has put up minimal production. The O-Line is extremely talented & returns 3 starters. C Nick Martin is expected to be an All-American. The talent is everywhere but it needs to come together. DEFENSE: ND returns 4 starters from a defense that allowed 22.4PPG. It looks like ND will lose DE Ishaq Williams & CB KeiVarae Russell to academic issues but there are some really interesting pieces coming back. LB Jaylon Smith is already an All-American. I think DT Sheldon Day ends up one as well. I think S Max Redfield is going to break out and newcomers like Florida transfer CB Cody Riggs and true frosh LB Nyles Morgan are going to do serious damage. LB Joe Schmidt & LB Ben Councell should also do extremely well. The defense could be really good but there is a lot to see first. I hope Russell come somehow get back on the field as he’s one of the best corners in the nation and his loss will be felt. It’s interesting, the Irish lose some serious players in Dan Fox, Carlo Calabrese, Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix & Prince Shembo, but really I could see ND’s defensive numbers actually improve. SCHEDULE: Phil Steele believes this is the most difficult schedule in the nation & this is where it just gets too hard for ND. I project 10 of their 12 opponents to be bowl eligible. They have road games against Florida St., Arizona St. & USC. Neutral games against Syracuse & Navy. Home games against Michigan, Stanford, North Carolina, Northwestern & Louisville. I count 4 teams who could be national title contenders & 6 teams who are legit threats to win their conference division! Rice & Purdue are the easiest games the Irish will play but the rest of the schedule is an absolute dog fight. I have the Irish at 7 wins but if they can somehow push the envelope and get to 8-9 wins, this will be a VERY good football team & probably the best 8-4 team in the country. It’s that BRUTAL!
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August 30, 2014 - Posted by | Notre Dame, Predictions, Previews

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