They say football is a game of inches. That may be true but it is also a game of chance. For a team to have a shot at glory many things must line-up, such as schedule strength, home v. away games, returning starters, and stability in coaching. Does Notre Dame have what it takes to make a run at the College Football Playoffs for a second straight year?
Notre Dame went undefeated in the regular season last year and earned a shot at the Clemson Tigers last year. The results were not pretty but they reached heights that few teams have managed to reach. Of course, that is not a new feeling for the Fighting Irish as they are #6 in all-time wins and #2 in National Championships in the poll era.
The team returns seven starters on offense for Coach Brian Kelly. This includes star quarterback Ian Book. Once he was inserted in the offense last season, the Irish finally looked like they could be competitive on both sides of the ball. The defense returns 6 starters and should be serviceable enough for a solid season. The schedule is manageable but does include the regular cast of characters such as Stanford, Navy, USC, and the ACC matchups. Where the problem lies for this squad is they have a monster matchup in Athens, Georgia against the highly-rated Bulldogs in the third game of the season. They also must travel to Ann Arbor Michigan for the first time since renewing this rivalry against the hated Wolverines.
Despite their best efforts, the Elldee Sports Formula is predicting close road losses to both Georgia and Michigan. This will send a top-tier Notre Dame team into the bowl season at 10-2. Two losses this year will be too much to overcome and prevents the Irish from making the playoffs for a second year in a row. Until next time, good luck!