Instead of sitting around and sulking while wishing we were vacationing in Dublin, the HLS team got together to predict the 2012 Irish regular season record. Biscuit, NDtex, Bayou Irish, Grantland-X and myself all agree that ND will beat Navy this weekend, but from there we all see things shaking out a little bit differently.
Summary of Forecasts:[table “” not found /]
Last week, Biscuit treated us to his famous Dancing Leprechauns game by game prediction, which can be found here: The Leprechauns Be Dancing!
Straight up I am calling for 9-3, but the confidence weights as indicated by the Leprechauns (DANCING!) shows that I’m not very confident in that number. Typically I would call that a 9-3 with a lean down, but I could see 6-6 here for ND this year. It’s a high beta year, and that’s assuming that we’ve gotten past all of our amazing ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Because of that, I’m going 8-4 with no lean either way. The uncertainty has me giving away an entire game, but I’m okay with that. I have a few 3-Lepre-W’s in there, but there are a few that are less certain – due to travel, fatigue, or just an opponent that I’m not sure about.
8-4 isn’t a disaster against the #1 SOS in the country, but it wouldn’t tell us that we’re headed in the right direction either. Coach Kelly and the boys need to prove me wrong for me to be ready for a MNC run in ’13 – let’s get to 9-3 boys, and it’ll be a successful year. Anything above that is GRA-VY.
Now please don’t poo poo me for my realism/lack of fandom. I, of course, believe fully that we will RISE AND STRIKE AND WIN OVER ALL! DANCE LEPRECHAUNS DANCE!!!
2012 is a near impossible schedule to project. There are so many unknowns: QB, CB, and WR. Add in the additional concerns of turnovers and a tough schedule and this is a projection nightmare.
For me though, this season comes down to the following games: Michigan State, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Stanford. Those are the swing games. Notre Dame should be competitive in each and have a shot at winning against each opponent. Southern Cal is notably missing from this equation as I see that as a straight loss. As far as the rest of the games, I see them as games we should win.
So that’s one definite loss and four games up in the air. This time around, I see Michigan being a win–they just can’t get lucky yet again and win by four. Call it absurd or illogical, but that just has to change. Stanford won’t be as good as people think this season as well and I think that game is far more winnable than fans give it credit for. The road games against Sparty and OU though–I just don’t see it.
That puts me at 9-3 for this season, making the Irish a potential BCS dark-horse for the season. However, nine wins won’t be enough to make that, even with this schedule. As far as the eventual bowl destination, I’m not exactly sure where to put them. What this will come down to is which bowl finds themselves in a fortunate position to pounce on a 9 win Irish team and there is really no way that I’m going to get that right. So since I’m going to be wrong anyways: Belk Bowl. Why not. We win in a pissed off rage after a USC beating that just compounds the slight miss of the BCS.
That’s right 10 win season. I’m fully aware that setting the bar here is going to break my heart. #NDFBIsDeterminedToKillMe
Unfortunately it has been since Charlie Weis’s first year at ND that the Irish have overachieved relative to my preseason prediction. Whether it has been bad luck with a few fumbles (2011) or sheer homer-ism on my part (2007), I have consistently been wrong. This year, I separated the schedule into 4 categories: Must Win (Navy, Purdue, Boston College, Wake Forest), Should Win (Miami, BYU, Pittsburgh), Toss-Up (Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford), and Likely Loss (Oklahoma, USC).
While a win in Norman or Los Angeles (or both!) would be a beautiful upset, my best case scenario for the 2012 Irish is finishing the season at 10-2 with a BCS bid. With this schedule, though, I think it is likely we see the team advance in performance but not in record. Along with losses to Oklahoma and USC, I expect ND will drop one of the “Toss-Up” games (most likely either UM or MSU because I think Stanford is going to regress more than people are predicting) and one of the “Should Win” or “Must Win” games. While I’m excited to see Everett Golson grow as a quarterback through his first season, there are bound to be plenty of mistakes along the way that could end up making the difference in a tight game. That being said, I would be not be shocked (and would be very pleased) to see the Irish finish the season at 9-3 and head into 2013 with some great momentum. Here’s to hoping that my prediction in finally wrong in a positive way. Go Irish.
Bowl Prediction: Something that really makes us wish ND had more bowl ties
– Navy’s (W) going to have a tough time – they’re travelling, too, and not on ships. Plus, they’ve got some personnel issues.
– Purdue 9W) is going to be worse than last year and we abused them last year. We crack sixty for the first time since Lou.
– MSU (W) is a tough one and our first real test, but our D is now dominating teams.
– Michigan (W) is a revenge win (and prediction). This is the key game to the season, in my mind.
– Miami (W) brings the moth**f***ing boat into Lake Michigan but they don’t bring enough talent. This is a comfortable win for the Irish, despite the lack of points.
– We beat Stanford (W). The Cardinal is overrated to start the season and that’s going to be exposed in the shadow of the Golden Dome. They lost a ton of talent and are adjusting to a new coach, so….
– BYU (W) I can’t figure out. If there’s a trap game on my radar, this is it. I HOPE that the lads are by now locked in on the season and are not looking ahead to
– Oklahoma (L). We’ve got no Lo, we’ve got resolving QB issues, we could have injuries, and it’s in Norman, where the Sooners are 1643-2 over the last twelve seasons.
– Pittsburgh (W) gave us fits last year. Expect more of the same, but a win all the same.
– BC (W). Yawn. Grab a Godzilla Burger at the Eagle Deli.
– Wake Forest (W). Farewell to a ton of talent. This one’s an emotional experience as the student body storms the field at the end, mobbing Manti and Tyler.
– USC (L) beats us, but just. Our secondary can’t keep up, but it’s a close affair.
Bowl prediction: Sugar Bowl
– Navy – WIN – A team that cannot try and exploit our CB inexperience. And we should be able to run the ball all day.
– Purdue – WIN – A slow, jetlagged first half brings Tommy Rees back in. For a dominating win.
– MSU – LOSS – September woes continue, and BK starts with a 2-QB system.
– Michigan – WIN – Notre Dame obliterates Michigan by 5 scores, putting together a complete game.
– Miami – WIN – After a huge win vs. Michigan, and a bye week to stay fresh, the Irish start to roll.
– Stanford – WIN – Not an easy win by any means due to the Cardinal’s strength in the trenches, but lack of consistent QB play allows the Irish to cruise.
– BYU – WIN – Reverse trap game. Everyone thinks it’s a trap, we pay so much attention to the Cougars that we roll them like Utah two seasons ago.
– Oklahoma – WIN – Oklahoma’s offensive line can’t hold off the onslaught that is brought by the Irish front seven. Notre Dame forces four turnovers to shock the Sooners in their own house.
– Pittsburgh – WIN – The real trap game of the year, as Ray Graham can really run the ball. Irish get a scare but win by a score.
– Boston College – WIN – They won’t be Backup College this year. Because even our backups are way, way better.
– Wake Forest – WIN – Senior Day at Notre Dame, to some serious team leaders, particularly the new captains. And they ride off with a monster win.
– USC – LOSS – The Irish win streak finally gets snapped by USC’s 2012 offensive juggernaut. But the game is close, decided in the fourth quarter.
Bowl Prediction: Sugar Bowl