1. NOTRE DAME WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
Last year’s team caught a few massive breaks.
The Michigan game was at home right out of the gate. Stanford wasn’t up to its normal snuff, Virginia Tech stunk, Florida State stunk, USC stunk, and beating Northwestern, Pitt and Syracuse – while solid – wasn’t that big a deal.
But if going 12-0 was so easy, everyone would do it.
This year’s team is still going to be fantastic in a whole lot of ways, but there’s no Dexter Williams, no Julian Love, no Te’von Coney, no Jerry Tillery, no Drue Tranquill, no Alize Mack, no Justin Yoon, and no Miles Boykin.
There’s plenty of talent coming back to come up with another great year, but those eight big talents were major reasons for the unbeaten regular season and the run to the College Football Playoff.
The offensive line, though, will be every bit as good as last year’s version. The secondary will be okay despite the loss of Love, the defensive ends are strong, and QB Ian Book is good enough to overcome the loss of some of the key skill guys.
Overall, though, there will be just enough of a step back to fall short of being perfect, but it’ll still be a very, very good team … with a much harder schedule.
Set The Regular Season Win Total At … 9
USC and Virginia Tech are home games, but both teams will be far better. Virginia is good enough to win the ACC Coastal, going to Duke and hosting Boston College will be tricky, and starting the season off at Louisville is more dangerous than it might seem.
But the three giant road games are going to be the killer – at Georgia, at Michigan, at Stanford.
The Irish will win at least one of those three, but assume two losses in good fights, and one stumble somewhere else to a USC or one of the okay ACC squads on the slate.
No, it’s not going to be another College Football Playoff season, and it’s Notre Dame, so the expectations should be at national title or bust, but nine regular season wins and a bowl victory would make it four double-digit win seasons in the last five.