1. #1
    Chance Harper
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    Notre Dame a strong bet to go bowling

    Notre Dame a strong bet to go bowling

    Coming off a disastrous 3-9 campaign in 2007, Charlie Weis and Notre Dame look for a big rebound in 2008 with a softer schedule and extra experience under their belts. Weis also brought in Jon Tenuta to serve as his assitant and retool what was a porous defense in 2007, allowing over 32 points per game their first 10 contests before finishing the season with a pair of victories over Duke and Stanford.

    Don’t shed a tear for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

    They may have just suffered through their worst season since 1963, but how many other 3-9 college football teams get to be on national television eight times the following year? It’ll take a lot more than one lousy campaign to damage the reputation of one of the most famous and beloved teams in the country.

    Two years in a row might do it. However, it looks like the Fighting Irish will be back in somewhat competitive form this year. The Over/Under for Notre Dame victories is seven – enough to go bowling again. And the “exact games” odds suggest the Irish could go even higher:

    • Nine wins: 9-2
    • Eight wins: 5-2
    • Seven wins: 2-1
    • Six wins: 7-2
    • Five wins: 6-1

    Although nine wins seems like a lot after last year’s debacle, it’s actually entirely reasonable. Last year’s Notre Dame team was starting from square one after the loss of nearly all its top-shelf talent. Quarterback Brady Quinn went to the Cleveland Browns. Wide receiver Jeff Samardzija went to the Chicago Cubs as a relief pitcher. And the defensive front seven was nothing like the unit that went to two consecutive BCS bowls.

    Irish supporters have been calling for Charlie Weis’ head on a platter. That might be the worst thing that could happen at South Bend. Weis is one of the top recruiters in the sport, and the talent he’s stockpiled will compete for a national championship in 2009.

    This year, Notre Dame fans will have to content themselves with 100-1 betting odds and the prospects of a relatively minor bowl game. But how minor? The 2008 schedule for the Irish happens to be incredibly favorable to the Irish:

    Sept. 6 San Diego State
    Sept. 13 Michigan
    Sept. 20 at Michigan State
    Sept. 27 Purdue
    Oct. 4 Stanford
    Oct. 11 at North Carolina
    Oct. 25 at Washington
    Nov. 1 Pitt
    Nov. 8 at Boston College
    Nov. 15 Navy (at Baltimore)
    Nov. 22 Syracuse
    Nov. 29 at USC

    Other than road games at Boston College and USC in November, Notre Dame is hardly in over its head. Michigan is in its first year of rebuilding under new coach Rich Rodriguez. Purdue isn’t anything special once you get past QB Curtis Painter. Navy is also operating under a new coach (Ken Niumatalolo) and is ranked No. 72 in the Lindy's College Football Preview, compared to No. 59 for Notre Dame. If Notre Dame takes those three, eight wins is almost a formality.

    But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Better to look at the known quantities on the field. QB Jimmy Clausen was bigger and stronger in camp this spring – about 20 pounds bigger, and throwing the ball with some zing. Clausen should get the opportunity to use that arm for a change after getting sacked 58 times last year. His offensive line still isn’t among the best in the nation, but its four returning starters are a year older and wiser.

    Notre Dame’s defense can also expect better days in 2008. Jon Tenuta has been imported from Georgia Tech to act as Weis’ assistant; he’ll handle the linebackers, while Corwin Brown coaches the defensive backs. Tenuta’s expected to add some blitz packages to the conservative 3-4 defense. Even the special teams, which were awful last year, look better on paper with punter Eric Maust taking over full time and place-kicker Brandon Walker (6-for-12 last year) entering his sophomore season.

    All these improvements add up to what should be a good season in South Bend. Maybe even good enough for the Cotton Bowl. Maybe not, but at least handicappers will have the rare luxury of betting an undervalued Notre Dame team.

  2. #2
    slummin it
    louisvillekid's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    i see 5 wins, SDSU, Stanford, NC, Navy, and Cuse, and a possible 6 against Purdue.

  3. #3
    Willie Bee
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    Wouldn't bother me a bit if they finished with five, LK, just hoping it's against a different five.

  4. #4
    Panic's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    This year may be marginal for ND, but next year they will be in the Top 5 and hunting for a National. That talent they just recruited is going to be unreal.

  5. #5
    Seattle Slew
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    Weis was a fool to take the ND job. All he had to do was stay with the Pats a little longer and he would have gotten an NFL job. That's where his heart is, not the college game. He might have made a ton of money but he'll wind up a failure at ND.

    Weren't they supposed to have top recruiting classes the last 3 years and they still stink.

  6. #6
    daggerkobe's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    ND will definately go bowling in January!

    In fact, I guarantee it!!!!!!

    I even know where.........

  7. #7
    LT Profits
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    Quote Originally Posted by daggerkobe View Post
    ND will definately go bowling in January!

    In fact, I guarantee it!!!!!!

    I even know where.........

    I nominate this for the posting Hall of Fame.

  8. #8
    ritehook's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    I'd put Irish in Holiday Bowl this year

  9. #9
    Going to be a good weekend
    MartinBlank's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    Notre Dame couldn't play in the Holiday Bowl, the Holiday Bowl has specific conference tie-ins.

    About ND.

    I can understand last year's debacle. Willingham recruited lousy..just like he is doing in Washington.

    This year should be different, their schedule is weak.

    They should beat SDSU, Michigan, Purdue, Stanford, Pitt, Washington, Navy, Syracuse, and UNC.

    The visiting team in their Michigan State team has won the last 7, and 7 of the last 8 ND/MSU games have been decided by 7 pts or less.

  10. #10
    pags11's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    great move in hiring John Tenuta...he's the best defensive coordinator in the country...

    SBR Founder Join Date: 8/18/2005

  11. #11
    uscfootball33's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pags11 View Post
    great move in hiring John Tenuta...he's the best defensive coordinator in the country...
    Agreed and I love watching his defenses.