What’s up peeps? I said…WHAT’S UP??????!!!!!
Been a while. A long while. Too long a while. And my apologies for that. I’ve been busy having babies, building a home and dealing with life. What you been up to? Nevermind, I don’t have time for it anyway.
Sorry, I still love you. Deeply.
Biscuit here, with the annual installment of the Dancing Leprechauns. Our 9th attempt to guess the entire season game by game.
WATCH EM DANCE BABY!
Before we get into this year’s predictions, I would like to take a moment and gloat about my dominance of the weekly pick-em last year. Prior to the season, I pretty much predicted every single play in exact order. It was amazing. It was prescient. It was almost as cool as how I called 5 cards blind # and suit from a full deck that one time with Conrad Birdie at the lake house where Bad Kermit did that thing after graduation.
Last year I predicted 8-4 with a potential downgrade to 7-5 pending the outcome of the suspensions. Here’s what I said at the time:
“EDIT/Note: These were all done prior to the information that we might lose a couple starters due to academic issues. I am not going to adjust now, but pending where we net out on that, it could have a material impact. I am definitely sticking with 8-4 given this new info, and if all 4 or even the more impactful 2 starters end up out for the season, I would drop this to a good chance of 7-5. Not the end of the world, but it’d be a disappointment as we build toward what should be a contender year in ’15. Hoping this clears up a bit and without the big fraud we all fear.”
The hits to depth with suspensions, and the injuries made the downside happen. Let’s recap the game by game calls vs the results, shall we?
LAST YEAR RESULTS
Rice: I predicted a W, and a 38-13 score. We won 48-17. Not too shabby.
Skunkbears: I predicted a W, 24-23. OH THE GLORY THAT WAS 31-0. I cannot complain one bit about being off on the score. SO MUCH WIN.
Purdue: W, 31-9 was the call. W, 30-14 was the win. Solid.
Syracuse. Me: A win, 28-15. Actual: A win, 31-15. Okay, this was nuts. That’s some crazy stuff right there. I am so incredibly good. (please ignore the next game)
Stanford: Called a 33-27 loss. We won 17-14. Whoops. HEY WHAT’S THAT OVER THERE?!?!?!?!
UNC: Predicted 30-16 Irish and got 50(!)-43 Irish. Man, our offense was looking good before TURNOVERS FOREVER started.
FSU: “Whoooaaa-whoa-whooooooa. Whooaaaa, whoooooa….YOU SUCK!”
I called 30-17 loss, and we lost 31-27 on some BS. I was close here, but in reality we should’ve won this game. So maybe I wasn’t really that close. This was the beginning of the end of the season, and it still hurts. I cannot believe that EG would go there after that game. My absolutism would never allow it. I am weird.
Navy: Called 38-17, Won 49-39. That offense came back, the defense started to show signs of weakness / EVERYBODY GETTING HURT.
ASU: Called a 45-41 Loss, and we dropped it to the Sun Devils 55-31. I don’t like calling losses but this game played out in a way I expected at the highest level, despite all the weirdness on the field that day with crazy comebacks unrealized.
At this point I am 8 for 9, with a lot of legit calls on scores. I was magic. I was unstoppable. I was…about to watch the next game.
Northwestern: This was one of my low points as a fan. I know – INJURIES – but man, this sucked. I called a win by a good margin. We didn’t win.
Louisville: And now the wheels come off. For both me and the Irish. I had it a pretty close W at 27-20. We lost 31-28. Still, only 1 Lep so I knew this one was a toss-up. But still – Boo.
USC: I called for a close 1-point win and gave it only 1 star. That was…close? to a 49-14 shellacking that had me wondering if we would ever win again.
For the season, I said 8-4/7-5 with the suspensions. 7-5 it was. A glorious first half to a climactic yet just-short loss to the defending champs, and a roller coaster that only went down from there. It was fun for a bit.
So, net-net, I am getting GOOD at this. So get ready because the leprechauns are about to DANCE! TO THE SCALE!
On to this year’s predictions, using the same proprietary methodology as years past: my slightly-buzzed brain makes stuff up. DANCE LEPRECHAUNS DANCE!
Texas isn’t “Texas” right now. I mean, it’s still IN Texas, and the team is still stocked with tons of Texas talent, and they still wear Burnt Orange but the days of dominance have moved on to other programs. That said, it’s still Texas, it’s the first game of the season, and they’re at Notre Dame. The Longhorns will be FIRED UP.
But that will only last about a quarter.
See, Notre Dame is going to be GOOD this year. The combination of a tough to stop backfield with Folston and Zaire, and a deep and varied WR corps featuring Fuller For MVP, all supported by a SICK OL means we’re going to put up a lot of points.
And the defense that struggled so much last year is much more mature, with a lot of young guys getting PT due to SUSPENSIONINJURIESMANIA from 2014. It’ll be a nervwracking first quarter then things will align, and the Irish will walk away with the W.
ND Wins 31 – 17
UVA is outmatched in this game, but I am sure that Scott Stadium (named after the TP maybe?) will be rocking as much as it has ever rocked (probably like Jack Johnson level rocking. I’m talking Brushfire Fairytales people. THAT level of rock…) as they get fired up for a Now-Top-10 ranked Irish (because you know the name/brand thing with Texas).
After finishing 97th in the country in rushing yards last year, and losing the bulk of their strength along the DL, UVA remains in rebuilding mode with a Coach whose seat never seems to cool. The Irish will enjoy their first road game and will, pardon the bluntness of it, ram the football down the Cavs’ collective throat. It’s over before it begins.
ND Wins 45 – 13
Oh boy! Gonna be a battle. I think GT may be a Top 10 team to end the year, and while some pundits are calling this a ‘trap game’ I’m not sure how it can be given they’re preseason rank and that it will be the best team ND plays to this point in the season. They also return 15 starters from an 11-win season. Granted, I think that schedule looked harder than it was with a down year for much of what GT played, but still that was a pretty legit run.
ND has struggled against the option with the likes of Navy in the Kelly era, and Paul Johnson is the man that’s perfected it, and used it with legit talent. This will be a serious test for the Irish D, and I’m pretty sure that points will be scored. A lot of em.
But the Irish O will also be productive against the GT Defense, which was ranked 83rd last year in Total D, worse even than Notre Dame’s injury-plagued unit. Lots of points, lots of drama, lots of cut blocks. Oh boy.
ND Wins 41-40
EDIT: I considered changing this to a loss with the season-ending injury to Jarron Jones who was an absolutely crucial part of the D, and who is backed up by true frosh Tillery. While this will have a material impact on the season, the nature of this game likely won’t hinge on it given the type of GT offense. But it will rear its ugly head later. SO MUCH UGH ON THAT INJURY!
The closest thing to a FCS team ND will play, which means we will likely come out a bit flat. But I won’t because I’ll be at this game, drinking my face off. Despite winning tickets to Texas, USC, GT and at BC, THIS is the game I’m going to. Why? Because my family is going and that trumps any competition. But still would’ve been nice to be able to get 23 tickets to Texas or USC. Anyway, if you’re gonna be there, hit me up!
UMASS will be playing their super bowl, but it just won’t matter. Backups will start the 2nd half.
Clemson is going to Clemson itself this year as they do every year. Don’t worry about that, it’s as sure as Poot being Height Challenged. But they won’t have done so yet, which makes this squad dangerous.
If ND has an achilles heel this year, it’s Defensive Depth. Overall recruiting on the defensive side waned a bit after the monster hauls that included Nix et al. And it’s showing already with the injury to Jones pushing a True Frosh onto the DL. And over the course of the season, that won’t be our only one. We’re not quite at the half way point through the season, but like I said earlier, injuries will play a role in this season, and I think it will be particularly dangerous for the defense.
The good news for ND is that the Clemson offense wasn’t great last year at 54th overall in scoring O. But their defense was lights out at 3rd. So it will be strength vs strength in this matchup. The injury / depth issue will start to show here, and I fear it could swing this game the other way, especially at Clemson.
ND loses 24-21
Ah Navy. Never fun, especially with all the cut blocks and knees we can’t afford to lose at this stage of the season.
After a rough first go against the Triple O the first time around, BK and team have figured this one out though. It will be a typical Navy game – they will move the ball at will in the first quarter, slow a bit in the 2nd, and struggle in the second half. And ND will score a lot. A lot. A lot. This year it’s not close.
ND wins 48 – 23
This year’s USC isn’t the somewhat hapless one we came to know and love in the Kiffykins era. No, last year’s embarrassing shellacking where we didn’t know what the heck to do anywhere was a reminder that that era is over. It should be a pretty even fight for the next few years (though I fear it will swing back SC’s way given our depth issues in some key areas due to key recruiting misses), and this year should be a battle in South Bend.
Last year USC was ranked 23rd in Scoring O and in the 40’s on D. Respectable but not earth-shattering against a much more balanced Pac-12 than we’ve been used to in recent history. They return 20 starters from that team that beat us up last year (we return 18 – was 19 but now down 1 w loss of Jones – can you tell this is bothering me?) and they’ll have a solid shot at a P12 Championship.
Kessler is a 3rd year starter and this is the year that USC QBs typically hit their stride. It’s going to be a tough challenge for our Defense, particularly in light of the depth challenges. Of course one will hope that the younger guys will develop across the course of the year too.
But in the end, I think this one goes to USC. It’s a deeper squad and more balanced on both sides of the ball.
ND loses 37-24
BYE WEEK – rest up the livers as the boys rest their bodies and souls and prepare for the last sprint to the finish. And lots of time to DANCE!
Brian Kelly and The Temple’s of Doom? Nah, just the Hooters, who continue to struggle in D1. Temple ain’t good. ND is rested after 2 weeks, and potentially still fighting for a playoff berth. Gonna be a rough night for the Owls. After 5-7 minutes where we all feel nervous ND runs away with this one. What a hoot.
ND Wins 48-13
That Pitt loss a couple years back sticks in my craw just about as much as the Northwestern Socialists win over us last year. Vastly inferior teams ride a wave of emotion, luck, and a flat Irish team to victory. BLROUEROGHDFGH. (thats a vomiting noise in case it wasn’t clear).
I’m from Pittsburgh and this program never even caught my attention. The Steelers, sure. Pitt hoops even? Yeah, at one point. But never Pitt Football. More like ArmPitt Football. AHHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHH. #original.
Anyway, Pitt ain’t all that bad ‘n at. The defense will be suspect, but the offense is legit with a big, bad back to carry the load. With a weakened DL due to the loss of Jones this could cause the Irish some headaches. But the Pitt D is still figuring things out, and it’ll be a while (maybe forever) before it’s a dominant squad. Hmmm, sounding familiar? It should.
This won’t be a cakewalk but I think the Irish take care of business this time.
ND Wins 28-24
Wake (Up the Echoes) Forest
See? See how I turned their name into an ND-centric thing? That’s called WRITING folks. Learn it.
I’m literally not going to read anything about Wake Forest. Not a Thing. And I’m going to nail it.
ND Wins 35-21. BANKED!
Aw, c’mon, BC? No, no, no. In Boston? No. In FENWAY? Okay then! That’ll be awesome.
Little good comes of playing BC. You win, no one cares. You lose, and you lose a MNC. Or all semblance of respect. Or both. Anyway…
On offense the Eagles are new. New QB, and 5 new guys on the OL. Suffice it to say, that for a team that relies heavily on running, they’re lucky they have some experience/talent in their starting (sophomore) back. But other than that, there’s not much, so the ball isn’t going far for BC in this game.
On D the team returns a good core unit. So once again, it’s strength vs strength in the ND Schedule.
But BC isn’t fully recovered from 2-10 3 seasons ago. They’re also not fully recovered from their unending jealousy of all things Irish. Including being jealous of the result of this game.
ND Wins in an Off Game for the Irish O: 22-9
Stanford had an EXODUS on Defense, man. The entire DL? Gone. Most of the 2ndary? Gone. And while they beefed up the DL with a GRADUATE TRANSFER THE HORROR WHERE HAVE YOUR STANDARDS GONE STANFORD it’s a raw and untested D at The Singular Cardinal this year. The offense returns a good core though, so it’ll be strong vs weak (bucking the trend folks!) for ND-Stanford this year. The ND Offense should move the ball well against a young D, and the Stanford O will have an easier task with the ND Defense.
But I think ND is a better all-around team this year. The offense should be firing on all cylinders, and our younger Defensive players, including the DL, should be more mature at this point in the season. Plus, Stanford’s crazy run is ending. They were 8-5 last year with an arguably better team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
ND Wins a Good, Solid Matchup: 31-23 (Stanford gets a Safety).
IMO the season rests on GA Tech, and especially Clemson and USC. If we survive those games early in the year we will take care of the 2nd half of the season on momentum alone. If we drop one of those closely we can still win our way into the playoffs given SOS, which is literally absurd. If we drop two, and that’s it, we’ll have a respectable season and end up in a good bowl to whoop another SEC team. If we drop 2 and the wheels come off like last year, I may finally start enjoying whiskey. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.
Net-Net I’m calling 10-2. 9-3 could happen with further defensive injuries. The Jones injury has me rattled, no doubt. This team could still pull out 11-1 and sneak into the playoffs though. A 12-0 run seems almost impossible with the schedule and without Jones. We needed all hands on deck to make that happen. So, 10-2 with a shot at the playoffs with some luck. All depends on how we gel / mature on D, which has me a bit concerned. Either way, exciting season with a great slate of games.
GO IRISH, KILL THEM ALL!
AND DANCE BABY DANCE!!!!