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2017 NOTRE DAME PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS

As an unapologetic Notre Dame homer, what would my college previews be without giving the IRISH their due? Notre Dame is coming off their worst season since Charlie Weis led the Irish to a 3-9 finish in 2007. Weis would only last a couple of years before Brian Kelly came to town, and to me this is the biggest story line Notre Dame faces. Can Brian Kelly keep his job? Notre Dame is about as high profile as high profile can get so Kelly turning in 4-8 seasons won’t keep him in South Bend. Unless Kelly and Notre Dame can show massive improvement, I’m not sure AD Jack Swarbrick won’t be looking for a new head coach come January.

To that end, Kelly has made significant shake ups to his staff. Chip Long is the new OC and Mike Elko is the new DC. Kelly is banking on fresh blood in South Bend pumping new life blood into the program that could secure his job but also make the Irish relevant again. It’s easy to think that Kelly has peaked at Notre Dame. The Irish turned in a couple of 8-5 seasons in Kelly’s first two years before going a perfect 12-0 during the regular season in 2012 to get the national championship game against Alabama where the Irish were exposed. Since that 12-1 season that saw Notre Dame finish #4 in the nation, the Irish have posted a 31-20 record over the past 4 years which include the 4-8 debacle last season. That’s an average of just under 8 wins per season. That won’t play at Notre Dame.

So this is where we are. There can be no moral victories for Notre Dame this year. All that matters is whether or not they win games. I think it’s worth mentioning schedule. The Irish don’t have the easiest schedule:

Temple
Georgia
at Boston College
at Michigan State
Miami-OH
at North Carolina
off
USC
North Carolina State
Wake Forest
at Miami-FL
Navy
at Stanford

That is horribly rough sledding, but keep in mind that the Irish in 2012 when they made their run to the national championship finished 7-0 at home. In 2015 when Notre Dame finished 10-3 and ranked #11 in the nation, they were 6-0 at home. You can say this about every team in college football, but given Notre Dame’s schedule, how well they play at home because they get 7 true home games is of massive importance. The Irish really only play 2 difficult road games (Miami-FL & Stanford), but if they protect Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish could be 9-0 when they fly to Coral Gables and potentially 11-0 when they end their season on the road against Stanford. Beating USC won’t be easy but even if the Irish drop that game, they can still finish 6-1 at home. That would put them in position to win 10 games if they win their bowl unless they were able to upset Miami-FL or Stanford on the road. Notre Dame has to take advantage of their home schedule.

TEAM NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Computer Hope This should easily be the best offense Brian Kelly has ever had in South Bend. Josh Adams & Dexter Williams are outstanding runners. The O-Line is arguably the best in the nation & has 2 potential All-American & 2 NFL 1st Rd. Picks. The skill positions are stacked with WRs Equanimeous St. Brown, WR Miles Boykin, WR Chase Claypool, WR CJ Sanders, TE Durham Smythe & TE Alize Mack. If QB Brandon Wimbush plays to his talent level, ND should average 40PPG. Defensively ND returns 7 starters and don’t have any significant holes to fill. To me this one falls on DC Mike Elko. Can he get the most out of this defense. They’ll make or break the season. LB Nyles Morgan & DT Jerry Tillery need to lead and ND needs to generate a significant pass rush.
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August 27, 2017 - Posted by | NCAA, Notre Dame, Predictions, Preseason, Previews

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