The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
No. 25: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Spring Practice Starts: March 6
Spring Game: April 21
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Spring Status
The ten-win season with a bowl victory over LSU might have been a wee bit disappointing considering the 8-1 start, but it was still a terrific turnaround after the 4-8 clunker of 2016.
But now the rebuilding has to kick in.
The Irish have quarterback options, but the top offensive linemen – Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey – are done, along with RB Josh Adams and WR Equamineous St. Brown. In all seven starters are done on the offensive side, and the D has some work to do, too.
The Irish lose LB Nyles Morgan and other key starters in the front seven. The secondary should be fine, but again, there’s rebuilding to do.
Notre Dame Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. The bigger problems are on the O line – you don’t just instantly replace talents like Nelson and McGlinchey – and finding a few new killer linebackers would be nice, but the team needs to settle the quarterback situation as quickly as possible.
Brandon Wimbush ran the attack to near perfection early on, at least when it came to the ground attack. However, he struggled to consistently get the passing game going, hitting fewer than 50% of his passes on the year. Ian Book can run well, but not like Wimbush, and he threw four touchdown passes and four interceptions, but he pulled off the bowl win over LSU with his late heroics.
Notre Dame Biggest Issue
The passing game. The Irish ran for over 3,500 yards and averaged over six yards per carry – the passing attack was along for the ride. However, along with the quarterbacks needing to be better, the receivers have to do more, too.
St. Brown was and is a big-time talent who’ll have a solid NFL career, but he wasn’t used enough in an offense that hit the 200-yard passing mark just four times, two of those in losses. This doesn’t have to be a high-octane attack, but it has to be more efficient and more consistent.
Notre Dame Biggest Positive
The secondary. The Irish will out to be fine on the defensive front, but they secondary should be the star coming off a solid season. All four starters are back, including good-tackling corner Julian Love and the safety tandem of Nick Coleman and Jalen Elliott.
The Irish allowed 200 yards or more eight times, and only came up with one interception over the last four games, but the talent and experience are there to be stronger.
Really, Why Are The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Ranked Here?
There’s just enough work to be done to expect a bit of a step back. It’s not going to be a disastrous season, but with the offensive system in place, and the talent that was there defensively, last season had the upside to be the run to the College Football Playoff, and it didn’t happen. This year’s team won’t be quite as strong.