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Notre Dame Predictions

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I'm reading some of the other Notre Dame blogs kind of laughing to myself because I'm reading a lot of the same kinds of crazy rationalizations we made last year.

The gang over at the Blue-Gray Sky offers up their preseason predictions and I'm just wow. They ask their team of panelists to predict each game and then they ask some of them to predict the most surprising win and loss.

Michael says...

ND will surprise a lot of folks when they beat PSU on the road. Last year I really thought Weis owned their defensive coordinator, but I think we lacked the talent to overpower them with the running game. This year I believe the rushing offense will be better, and I really think Weis has Bradley figured out. Now they have DL injuries to deal with, which makes it worse. On the other side of the ball, the knock on Morelli has always been his ability to read defenses, and Corwin Brown comes from a coaching tree that emphasizes confusion and disguise. Meanwhile, their RB is Austin Scott, who has been on their team for like 4-5 years but lost his job to Tony Hunt. I think their rushing offense will take a step back.

Weis owned Bradley? I seem to remember Brady Quinn hitting a few Nittany Lions right in the numbers and was very fortunate to have them dropped. The secondary had three sophomores and a fifth year senior all in their second career starts. Bradley played a soft zone to compensate for their inexperience and Justin King's groin injury. The defensive line had three new starters also in just their second game as a unit. And Paul Posluszny, still recovering from the torn ACL, was running around with big bulky knee brace that he shed later in the season.

This year we'll have three healthy linebackers and a much more experienced and battle tested secondary. The defensive line may still be a problem, but I look for Bradley to be much more aggressive in blitzing the linebackers now that his secondary knows what they're doing. Notre Dame on the other hand will be completely rebuilding their offense. Oops, sorry, I know Charlie doesn't like that word.

Pete adds...

I think the Penn State game will be a big surprise, considering it will be on the road in a harsh environment against a team that is generally believed to be elite even when they're not. And I think it'll be a surprise because we'll win fairly handily. There's no reason Notre Dame can't beat on this team like they did last year, and the biggest obstacle is not letting the young team get intimidated by a hostile environment. If we can avoid that, I think we can win fairly easily, and that will definitely grab some attention, like beating UM at the Big House in 2005.

There is no reason why Notre Dame can't beat Penn State this year? None? None at all? Did Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight, and Darius Walker all come back for another year and I missed it? Are all of these players that were recruited for a 4-3 system going to perfectly fit into a 3-4 system? Have they already mastered the 3-4? Is the game in South Bend again? Are all of these new starters going to walk right into a 107,000 seat stadium and just play like they're back on the practice field? I think there may be a couple reasons why Notre Dame can't win this game.

Dylan says Michigan will be the biggest surprise win. He thinks beating Penn State will just be an ordinary win.

When we beat Georgia Tech and Penn State, it will be because they were overrated.

Yeah. Pot, meet kettle.

They're not all crazy though. Pat thinks Notre Dame will lose to Penn State...though he labels it the most surprising loss which suggests he thinks Notre Dame should be the favorite.

As for the loss, if ND has a strong showing against Georgia Tech, the hype machine will leap into action and replays of last year's pasting of Penn State will be everywhere. But playing on the road in front of a loud and supportive crowd is a dangerous place for a team with so many new starters.

Now add to this what Rakes of Mallow predicts for the Penn State game.

Penn State - Win - I'm sure the bloggers over at that Skinemax/PSU blog are going to love this prediction, which is part of the reason I made it.  I realize that the likelihood of going into Beaver Stadium and defeating a more experienced (but not talented) Penn State squad is lower than most would hope.  But I'm confident that Corwin Brown can control Anthony Morelli's offense.  Our offense should be able to get some good looks and be able to score at least a few touchdowns.  This is the least confident game I'm predicting, but it'd be a shame for me to admit that I predict a loss.  Down with the Lions.

Now I know that last year we all expected great things and it didn't quite work out. But who could blame us? We were coming off of a 12-1 season and a BCS Bowl win. We were going to finally see our highly touted quarterback replacing a guy that was drafted into the NFL as a running back. We were getting Derrick Williams back from the broken arm. We figured the small details like the offensive line, defensive line, and secondary would just work themselves out. Turned out we were wrong. The secondary and defensive lines did work themselves out, but not until midway through the season and by that time we already had three losses.

Notre Dame is going to be breaking in an entirely new group of people at every offensive skill position save tight end. They already had a shaky defense, but now they have a new defensive coordinator breaking in a new system that they haven't recruited the players to play. Penn State returns a lot of proven battle tested talent from last year and the game is in Happy Valley. I know we had high expectations last year, but were we this bad?