I was holding off on this. It takes forever. And I always sorta trail off in detail/quality toward the end (like 99% of my posts). BUT, I like the audacity of it. I like that I’m typically pretty good at the prediction portion, though ’07 is a wild exception where I called 7-5 and we all know how that turned out.
Last year I was pretty good. I called 7-5 and was right on track into BC. In fact, I was 9 for 9 going into BC. I called the losses to MSU, UNC and Pitt. That’s where I got lost. I had thought that we’d drop 1 of 2 to Pitt/BC, and never imagined we’d lose both, and lose to Syracuse too. F-ing SYRACUSE. I digress…
Anyway, I thought we’d be 7-5, so I wasn’t too bad. This year, I’m going to give myself a similar margin of error (why, how nice of me), but I’m hoping for a game on the positive rather than 1 on the negative.
Quick note on the Confidence Scale again:
This is just as likely to be wrong as it is to be right (aka the BadKermit Effect)
I’ve got a good feeling, but am leaving myself some wiggle room
This is a lock, I am a genius, I cannot be wrong.
Week 1 – Nevada
Nevada comes to town with their pistoles, but I come to town with my many beers, and this will be an Irish victory. Colin Copernicus will, no doubt, cause the Irish fits early on along with his strong supporting RB crew. But ND’s young, athletic defense will keep the ground game in check, and will take advantage of mistakes in the passing game to create good field position for the Irish O. While I’d love to say that the O would just roll right over the under-sized Nevada D-Line, I’ll believe it when I see it. Instead, I think we’ll see some decent running numbers, and a freaking explosion of passing yards to put up big points.
ND Wins: 35 – 17
2 Dancing leprechauns because it’s the first game of the year and Nevada freaking scares me with their pistoles.
Week 2 – @ Skunkbears (AND THEY SUCK!)
Skunkbear fans are overly optimistic this year – and not surprising after a horrid 3-9 finish. I know what this is like – it can only get better, right? Nope. Frosh QB = struggles, especially early in the year. Granted, Michigan (SUCKS) is playing 3 High School JV squads to get some practice in early in the year, so Noodle Arms may adapt pretty quickly, but I still expect their offense to struggle a lot.
My guess is that RichDick will try to pound the ball into ND with Minor to try to open up the scramble and the pass for Spindle Arms. It won’t work though. ND will give UM (sucks) the pass, trusting on our stellar DBs to cover man-to-man much of the day, and will stack the box to stop the run. Ian Williams will re-earn his strips in this game, clogging the middle and causing fits for Minor.
On offense, ND will shred a relatively weak Michigan (sucks) defensive backfield through the air. Expect a career day for Tate, while Ragone and Rudolph rack up yards over the middle as well.
ND Wins – 31 – 20
Wild card here is the UM (sucks) Oline vs ND Dline. I don’t think it will be a problem, but it could be.
Week 3 – MSU
Dantonio and the boys come back to ND feeling like it’s Spartan Stadium South. It’s about freaking time for that trend to end. The loss of 99.9% of their offensive production in the form of never-gonna-play-in-the-NFL-Javon-Ringer helps ND, though the ‘loss’ of Hoyer doesn’t really do much. I actually expect improvement at the QB position for MSU this year. Scary thing about MSU is that they bring back pretty much everyone else from a solid 2008 squad. Overall, expect a formidable opponent in MSU, but one that will need to find its way on the offensive side of the ball.
This will be the first big test for the ND offense this season. MSU returns most of the D, and they held ND in check for most of the game last year. A few turnovers at unfortunate times certainly hurt ND, but MSU didn’t make it easy on us either. I expect a similar battle this year in this matchup, though I do expect ND to find a rhythm and to avoid those costly mistakes (they were so so so bad, I don’t know how we could even replicate that if we tried).
ND’s defensive strategy is tougher to guess, as it will largely depend on who emerges in the leadership role for the MSU offense. Will it be the new QB (still TBD) or the new running back (largely looking like by-committee at this point)? I would guess that Dantonio would bring pretty balanced attack, and ND will have to play solid balanced D as well.
ND Loses: 21 – 24
This is a game I feel could be tough for ND, given the depth and talent in MSU’s D. But I’m not confident in the pick at all, hence the 1 dancing leprechaun. I’d feel a lot more confident if I knew what the offense would look like, and if MSU hadn’t owned ND for like 9 years at ND stadium lately I’d probably tilt this in ND’s favor. In reality, I think ND will drop 1 game out of MSU and Stanford, and I think it’s more likely to be MSU. Dantonio is a decent coach, and they’ve owned us lately. I hate calling this a loss, but it’s here or Stanford (I don’t see us winning out, sorry folks). BUT, this game is winnable. VERY winnable. If the MSU offense doesn’t come together, or if the ND defense puts together a really solid performance, this is an ND victory. It’s a toss-up!!!
Week 4 – @ Purdue
My Prediction? Nap time.
Purdue is so god-awfully boring I can’t even handle it. They lost everyone, and they have a new coach. ND will destroy Purdue, while I catch up on some serious ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ’s.
ND Wins: 38 – 13
The real over-under here should be # of people that fall asleep in the stadium once the Big Drum is rolled out. No matter how much excitement ND brings to a game, Purdue’s black hole of excitement death will end it all.
Week 5 – Washington
Washington can finally put the Ty Era behind them. We know how this feels, and we know the Huskies are feeling great. They’re fired up to have someone with a pulse running their program, and The Sark is a good, quality hire. However, you don’t go from 0fer to beating ND in a single season. Having Jake Locker at QB does not a team make.
ND will move the ball almost at will against an under-sized and slower defense, and while Washington will likely give the Irish D fits here and there with the athletic Locker under center, they’ll never muster much of a threat.
ND Wins: 38 – 14
Week 6 – BYE
ND will not lose this week. Guaranteed.
Week 7 – Southern Cal
I am predicting a very close, evenly matched game here. To be honest, that doesn’t make a lot of sense given that we barely moved the ball last year against USC, and they’re reloading (not at ALL rebuilding). The ND offense will once again be challenged to move the ball, but a revamped run game will force the Trojans to respect the run, opening up passing lanes for Tate, Floyd, Rudolph and Ragone. ND WILL move the ball well, and put points on the board.
The ND defense will have its hands full with a well-balanced attack. Despite being a first year starter (whoever it is), the USC QB will have half a season under his belt, and a lot of experience around him. USC will move the ball as well, and will put up points.
The Irish have finally closed the talent gap, and the rivalry is renewed in this game. But ND doesn’t have it all pulled together yet. That will be 2010.
ND Loses: 27 – 21
Man, predicting losses suuuuuuucks. We’ll get ’em next year though boys. And I refuse to call this a 3-leprechaun for USC. At home, and with some momentum, ND has a shot at this one. A legit shot.
Week 8 – BC
Finally, this series starts getting back on track with how it SHOULD be with an ND whipping of BC in South Bend. BC is falling apart. Last year they featured a team of 96 5th year seniors, and all of those dudes now have kids and work as accountants. The remaining few guys they had left have either tragically been pushed out of action, or left due to grades. Heck, even the coach bailed seeing what he’d be facing.
BC will be a mess this year, and ND will capitalize. The ND offense will move the ball well. Jimmy won’t shoot himself in the foot over and over this time and around, and the ND defense will squash any attack from the weak-as-all-hell BC ‘offense’.
ND Wins: 42 – 10
This is a beatdown, a deserved one, and I can’t wait to see it.
Weak 9 – Washingtons State
No, I didn’t misspell ‘Week’ above. This IS “Weak 9”, because this game is just weak in every way. It’s a boring matchup, in the middle of freaking Texas (home game my @$$) against a weak program and it’s weak weak weak. I can’t believe the season hasn’t started and I’m already not interested in a game. This is scheduling at its worst folks.
Anyway, sorry: besides predicting a weak-ass game, I predict a solid ND win. WSU has been down, and will continue to be down.
ND Wins: 34 – 9
And the 9 is a missed extra point + a FG, btw.
Week 10 – Navy
Post-USC, ND will face 3 decent squads. Navy is one of them, and the Irish will finish up the FOREVER home stand with the Midshipmen. I know, I know, it’s Navy. But they were a Bowl team a year ago, and they’re good at what they do. And I believe they play ND with more fight, more passion, than they play Army or Air Force. Navy comes into this game to PLAY.
The good thing is that ND will handle Navy. The ND D last year did an amazing job of shutting down the Navy option attack. That is, when they decided to actually PLAY defense. The 4th quarter was a mess. Given the success of the air attack against ND last year, I expect there to be a bit more of a balance in their plan this year (still super run heavy though – think 90/10 rather 99/1 run/pass). ND will play great assignment football though, and won’t quit this time around, and will put a stop to the Navy attack.
The offense will have a field day, and WON’T QUIT EARLY THIS YEAR either.
ND Wins: 31 – 21
Week 11 – @ Pitt
I’m not quite sure what is going on with people thinking Pitt is going to be good this year. They were average last year, and they lost 99% of their offense in Lesean McCoy. Their quarterback situation is dire, as Stull is a terrible QB and the probable starter. They have a serviceable defense, but it’s nothing to write home about. Without McCoy to carry the team on his shoulders in the Wildcat, ND and Pitt don’t go to Overtime last year, and they don’t come close to winning. I am still not sure how ND doesnt put EVERY SINGLE GUY ON THE LOS TO STOP THE FREAKING MCCOY WILDCAT PLAY OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN last year, but that won’t happen this year. Not because we figured it out, but just because McCoy is a goner.
Pitt will be a mediocre team once again, and ND will win this game easily.
ND Wins: 31 – 14
Week 12 – UCONN
Uconn will be a tougher game than Pitt, but the Irish should handle their former backup QB and his squad. I think Uconn will come into this game with a chip on their shoulder, feeling like they don’t get the respect they deserve. I think they’ll play a scrappy game and put a scare on ND early, but ND is simply more talented, and being at home won’t hurt either.
The Uconn offense will move with its QB, and he’s not a bad one. Having been at ND, Zach Frazier got to learn a bit under C-dub, and he is obviously a pretty talented dude. But Zach will only be able to do so much, as his supporting cast just isn’t as intimidating. The Irish D should work to make Uconn fairly 1-dimensional, and that will be their downfall.
ND’s offense should move the ball well (notice a theme here folks? outside of MSU and USC, does ND face another decent D all season?), and will put up points.
Uconn is outclassed in this one.
ND Wins: 38 – 14
Week 13 – @ Stanford
You know, it’s sorta tough to believe, but I think that Stanford is the 2nd toss-up game of the season. Harbaugh has done a pretty good job in Palo Alto, and their squad is looking to move up out of the basement of the Pac-10 to the mid-upper tier.
With a (potentially) new starting QB that appears to be more athletic, the Stanford offense could be significantly more productive this season, and the Cardinal D will be solid if not spectacular. ND has had battles with the Cardinal recently, and I am predicting another one here in Palo Alto over Thanksgiving weekend.
As mentioned before, I think ND will have 1 hiccup outside of USC this year and I think it’ll either be MSU or Stanford. But probably not both. If ND comes in with a single loss to USC, this will be a big game, with big-time BCS implications (even with ND at 2-losses, it probably has the same implications).
I think ND is more likely to drop one earlier in the year against MSU than here, though, so I’m giving the Irish the edge.
ND Wins: 21-17
So that puts ND finishing up the regular season at 10-2. 9-3 is our downside, and 11-1 the top side, but given that I feel like we have 2 toss-up games, and given Jimmy’s penchant for having games where he hits more opposing CBs in the chest than ND receivers, 9-3 is probably more likely than 11-1. I think 10-2 is probably the right number here though. I don’t think ND’s schedule is as weak as some say (see my post on it), but I think ND will be well-equipped to handle most of the teams they face. This won’t yet be a great team (again, see 2010), but it will be a solid, Top 10 squad by the end of the season. Since they won’t be great, expect a hiccup against a decent MSU or Stanford squad, and expect us to still be playing a bit of catchup against USC. That said, ND will be favored, or will be in, every game this year. A 10-2 finish and a BCS appearance is my prediction. Here’s to seeing it happen.