The Fighting Irish fizzled out last season, but they're nonetheless expected to be a contender and right in the thick of things again in 2015. Our NCAA football odds preview can be found inside.
When we peruse over the college football futures odds, we find Notre Dame priced just outside the top 10 when it comes to everyone's chances of winning the national championship.
At time of writing, the Fighting Irish were available in a wide range of odds. For instance, 5Dimes has Notre Dame available all the way up at +3000, while other sites like Bovada have the line at +1800. Needless to say, if you're a true believer in this team's chances of competing at the very highest level and becoming the last ones standing, you can find some appealing odds out there.
Of course, Notre Dame doesn't participate in a conference, so those odds aren't available.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 2014 Recap
The Fighting Irish couldn't have asked for a better start last season, as they raced out to a 6-0 record, while posting impressive wins over the likes of Michigan and Stanford among others.
Unfortunately for Notre Dame, the wheels would come off in a big way, as the team went on to lose five of its last six regular season matchups. The Fighting Irish lost to both Louisville and Northwestern at home and fell to Florida State, Arizona State and USC as well on their way to a 7-5 regular season record. That performance was good enough for an invite to the Music City Bowl, where they would beat LSU 31-28 to finish off on a high
Everett Golson was the man in charge of the offense, and he had a solid season for Notre Dame, finishing with 3,445 passing yards and a 29:14 TD:INT ratio. He also ran for 283 yards and an additional eight scores with his legs. Golson forged a terrific partnership with wideout William Fuller, who caught 76 balls for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns as only a sophomore. As far as the running game goes, Tarean Folston got most of the work, ending up with 889 rushing yards, 190 receiving yards and seven total scores.
Defensively, Notre Dame didn't have all that much success, allowing 29.2 points per game (ranking them all the way down in 84th in the country).
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 2015 Look-Ahead
As soon as it was announced that Golson was transferring, everyone knew who would immediately step in as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish.
Though Malik Zaire hasn't seen much live action whatsoever -- he's attemped a grand total of 35 passes in his collegiate career -- there's a lot of optimism revolving around the dual-threat QB. He's flashed some great signs when given the limited opportunities, but now this is his team, and it's going to be up to him to lead the way. Zaire will have some talent work alongside, starting with top receiving target Fuller, who will look to make an even bigger impact as a junior.
Even better? Notre Dame's three leading receivers after Fuller all have not graduated either, so the receiving corps looks great for Zaire heading into the new season. Folston will also be back for his junior season and will hope to top his numbers from his sophomore campaign.
The benefits that come with the Fighting Irish's non-affiliation with a conference can be seen in their relatively weak schedule that's been set for 2015. Yes, they'll face the likes of Texas, Clemson and USC, and those are three of the biggest college programs out there, but the overall strength of the schedule leaves a lot to be desired. That means we should be seeing another winning season for Notre Dame, at the very least.
Oddsmakers seem pretty confident in the Fighting Irish, but we're wondering if that's more because of the name brand than anything else. Either way, we believe there are better values out there than what comes with Notre Dame.