The 24th ranked team in our preseason list is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Questions abound when talking Notre Dame in 2012. Which is not too surprising any time you talk about a team ranked where they are. Yesterday’s team, Florida has many questions as well.
One of these questions is, like with Florida, who will start at quarterback and how effective will he be? Tommy Rees looked to be the front-runner until he was arrested a few weeks back. He was already being challenged by Andrew Hendrix for the starting position. Rees is suspended for the season opener against Navy, which gives Hendrix a chance to impress the coaches.
Another question is at receiver where Michael Floyd leaves big shoes to fill. The Irish are hoping Davonte Neal will become a big time player this year. They Irish are very young at the position and not very experienced.
The Irish will have a talented defense, but one spot that may be exploited is the corner where a wide receiver, Bennett Jackson, has been switched over to defense and will start at cornerback. Also, the defensive line lost Aaron Lynch who left for USF (can’t beat ‘em join ‘em?). The line will be young also and will have to get old in a hurry. Manti Te’o is a very good linebacker, but who else the Irish have at the position is an unknown.
As usual, the Irish have a tough schedule, especially early on. They start with Navy this year, which is no longer a push-over for the Irish. That game will be played in Dublin (where the REAL Fighting Irish live). When they get back, they joining the Big Ten for three weeks with Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan. So they’d better be ready.
Notre Dame has a history of being overrated in the preseason. Will that be the case this year? It’s hard to say right now. The Irish can put a lot of critics to bed if they get off to a good start. They really owe one to Michigan after that gut wrenching loss a year ago. This could be a make or break year for Brian Kelly. He’s been there for three years now and the faithful will want to see some results this year.
Betting prospectus: Don’t pick the over in the Purdue game, and you may want to take the Boilermakers against the spread. It’s tough to come back a week after playing in another hemisphere.