Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

The Back Corner Fade

August 23, 2019

This will the first installment of Year 3 of the article and it’s defiantly picked up steam since it’s inception and the fruits of this labor of love are paying off. Being able to speak to ND Clubs in Cameroon, the Yukon, and southern Bulgaria this offseason were just great. I met 10’s of football fans and they all begged for more Coach Orgeron jokes this season. No problem! As I write this, all test results from those roadies have comeback negative. Christmas in August.

Speaking of August, we’re now into the days numbered in the 20’s and that can only mean one thing: football season is here! Sweet, glorious football season. There’s nothing like it. 

I’m going to quickly give you a few preseason predictions and then we’ll touch on Week 1 of the season.

I’m really going to go out on a limb here with my Final Four projections. Bottom line is that in CFB, you have the two big boys on the block (Clemson and Alabama) and then you have the hopeful contenders. It’s going to look like that again this year, with one small tweak:

College Football Playoff:

1-seed Clemson vs 4-seed Oklahoma

2-seed Georgia vs 3-seed Alabama

The only difference is that I think Georgia will get over Alabama this year in the SEC Title game setting up a rematch a month later. I know, I really went out on a limb here didn’t I?

Heisman Winner: who cares?

It’s who ESPN wants and an ND player would have to have the greatest statistical year ever to even be considered.

Dark Horse Team: Iowa St. 

It’s no secret I have a football man crush on Matt Campbell and the job he’s done in Ames. If there is any team that can throw a wrench in the two team party of the Big 12, I think it’s the Cyclones.

Overrated Team: Florida

I almost choked when I read that the Gators were ranked ahead of Notre Dame in the first AP Poll. For the life of me, I can’t see where this team is a Top 10 squad. Phillipe Franks must have turned into Shane Matthews in the off-season, because from what I’ve seen of his play, nothing makes me think he can lead them to wins over UGA, LSU, and the like.

As for the Irish:

I like what this team has. I really do. Does it have the juice to make another 12-0 run? That’s so hard to predict. So many things have to fall into place and there’s nothing wrong with a little luck here and there (you know, the “Luck of the Irish.” By the way, every media outlet, that phrase is tired, boring, and hasn’t been clever since I don’t know, ever. Quit using it every time the boys win a close one.) I think the offense has the potential to crank up the points especially if they have a RB step up to be the bell cow. I also think the defense is going to be very good even with the question marks at LB. With the talent that this team has, anything less than 10 wins is a major disappointment. The program has won 22 games in the last two seasons so they know how to win. The next step is winning the big ones. Going down to Athens and stealing one would be a major step. I’m going to say 10-2, a win in a New Year’s Day 6 game, and a Top 10 finish.  

On to Week One….

Florida vs Miami: This is a nice way to start the season with two old rivals getting together in a neutral site matchup. Mario Cantone, I mean Manny Diaz, finally has his dream job, and he has a tall order in his first game with the Canes, especially breaking in first time starter Tate Martell……ohhh, wait. Tathan is not starting and I’m sure he and his father have feelers out to ever school in the country. As you read above, I’m just not believing the hype with Florida. I do, however think that they’ll have more than enough to beat a Miami team that’s young with a first time starter and a first game for Diaz. UF 27-16.

FAU at Ohio St: Speaking of first year coaches, Ryan Day gets his first game in Columbus with Lane Kiffin coming in. Nothing really to see here and I fully expect OSU to work them over with little difficulty, What makes this fun is that Kiff has been calling Day out. I don’t know if he’s trying to be funny, mess with Day’s head, or is just that delusional. Look, Lane, you coach at a school that’s the Land of Misfit Florida Ballers that the Big 3 (make it 4 if you count UCF) didn’t want. Worry about getting out of there with your pay day, low injuries, and get ready for the daunting C-USA schedule to come. OSU 56-21.

Bosie St. at Florida St: What is year two going to look like in the reign of Willie Taggert? Year one, was obviously a “rebuilding year.” No, not really, it was a monumental train wreck. Say what you will about Free Shoes, they have, and will always have players. What they went through last year wasn’t “culture” or “new system” growing pains, it was flat out coaching and players quitting. It will be interesting to see what Willie and his staff can come up with. Boise sure as heck isn’t an easy first outing and the “Fire Willie” chants in cadence with “The Chop” will begin by the end of the 3rd quarter. BSU 28-17.

Virginia at Pitt: UVA out of nowhere has become the trendy choice to make some noise in the ACC. They return a great deal, and I’ve always felt Bronco Mendenhall is an underrated football coach. That being said, I’m not buying the ticket just yet. Pitt loses a ton, especially on offense having to replace the whole offensive line and both monster running backs. Defense is Virginia’s calling card and it should rule the day here. UVA 23-10

I’m going to start a new segment this year highlighting the biggest mismatch of the week. The vast majority of the time it’ll be a non-conference game where you just shake your head in wonder of why either school’s AD agreed to this. We’ll call it the Mola Ram Special. It’s the AD’s way of offering a sacrifice to Kali Ma, the Dark Lord of Cupcakes.

Georgia Tech at Clemson: Ok, I said mostly non-conference games. GT has a new coach, a system away from the triple option, and doesn’t have the piece to do it. Trevor Lawrence (fresh off of washing his lettuce for the 4th time this off season) and the boys are waiting. Clemson 56-3.

And finally Monday night in Louisville…..

The Irish travel south to Papa John’s Stadium to take on a Louisville team that is looking to rebuild after a disastrous 2018 campaign with Scott Satterfield as their new head coach, Satterfield quietly did a terrific job with the Mountaineers winning 40 games the last 4 seasons and three bowl games. He inherits the aftermath of a Bobby Petrino/Brian Van Gorder nuclear bomb and the fallout is going to take years to repair. Looking at this Cardinal team, they simply don’t have enough on either side of the ball to make this a game much past halftime. The lack of depth will rear it’s ugly head by the second half and the Irish should get out of town with a nice opening day Dub after some hair pulling moments in the first half. It’s going to be fun to see some of the “new faces” make their debuts for the blue and gold. Kids like Lawrence Keys and Kyle Hamilton. They’ve been making plays all camp, can they do it now that the lights are on? Who is going to take the first step in becoming “the man” at running back? Can the questions at LB start to be answered and will the rotation start to be ironed out? Frankly, these are fun questions to have. It’s not an question of “do we have anybody that can play there?” There’s talent across the board. It’s a matter of who’s going to step up and take it. We’ll see on Labor Day.

ND 42-17

Beat Louisville.


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