What are trap games?
Well, for starters these games tend to be against teams that are ranked just outside the Top 25. This, of course, means a win over the Irish is sure to catapult them into the Top 25 in the subsequent week’s rankings. Another aspect of trap games include the level of play. Either the unranked underdog plays up to Notre Dame’s talent level or, unfortunately, the Irish seep down to the underdog’s level of play. When both of these happen simultaneously, it is a recipe for disaster.
A trap game is further defined by the scheduling of the game. For example, a game like Virginia Tech can foolishly be overlooked in anticipation of the big show down with USC. In my estimation, the Irish have at least 4 trap games in 2016.
First of all, the Nevada game is sandwiched between two huge games: at Texas and home vs Michigan State. Nevada will also be the first home game of 2016 season, which can often times be the most nerve-racking game for players and fans alike.
Beyond the schedule, the scariest part of the Wolf Pack is their plethora of returning starters – 11 on each side of the ball! The returners include a 1,000 yard rusher in James Butler as well as all their wide-receivers. Three tight ends who made starts will return and the offensive line welcomes back all primary starters.
The most valuable of the returners will be RB James Butler. After averaging 6.47 yards per carry as a sophomore, many conference experts say he has the potential to be named the best tailback in the Mountain West.
The scariest part of this Duke team is their improved play over the last several years. Since the beginning of time, the Duke football program was nothing more than a joke at a basketball school. But now, the Blue Devils have put together three winning seasons in a row. The improvement doesn’t seem to be slowing down either, as the most recent recruiting class is considered by some to be the best in Duke’s history.
Coming soon: Two more teams Notre Dame cannot afford to overlook this season.