Notre Dame Fighting Irish Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
I've now written 30 college football team previews this week. This one may be my favorite. Why? Well, I could never get tired of writing 4-8 regarding this team. It is like poetry. Music for my soul. Brian Kelly is smug. His program is smug. They get more attention than they ever deserve. I know that they aren't going to stay this bad for long, so I have to enjoy it while I can. And I do. 4-8. 4-8. 4-8. So nice. How did they do it? And can they avoid doing it again? Lord, I hope not, but let's take a closer look, shall we.
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2016 in a Nutshell
It started badly and never really got better. Their wins were against Nevada, Syracuse, Miami and Army. The Miami win is reasonably impressive, but the other three mean very little. And then there are the losses. So many losses. They opened losing to Texas in double overtime. They lost to Michigan State before we knew how bad the Spartans were. They lost to Duke. At home! At NC State. To Stanford, Navy and Virginia Tech. At USC. Aside from Duke and maybe NC State, the losses were to solid teams. But Notre Dame always plays a schedule full of solid teams, and they usually do much better than this. The defense was really weak against the run. The offense was just plain weak. It was a rough year. Now excuse me while I try to stop giggling with joy. Now, to be fair, four of the losses were by a field goal or fewer points, and two more were by a touchdown, so a few breaks here or there and the results could be very different.
Key Additions and Departures
Kelly has made changes at both coordinator positions - because it was obviously the former coordinators' faults.
You know it was a rough year for the team - aside from the 4-8 record - because they had only two players drafted. QB Deshone Kizer went to Cleveland in the second round, and DE Isaac Rochell went just before the end of the draft. They had nine players transfer out, too, with QB Malik Zaire, WR Corey Holmes and OL Parker Boudreaux among the bigger names.
On offense the line is very solid, with established starters and some strong new talent coming along to push them. Same goes at running back - returning experience and good talent following. And same story for the receiver. The weapons are there. It's all going to come down to Brandon Wimbush. The former blue chip recruit has attempted five passes in two years, but the team is his. He has plenty of talent, but it remains to be seen how well he can settle into a good zone.
The defense is largely intact because they were very young last year. Some extra time and different coaching should make a bit of a difference. There is lots to work with and even more young talent behind them. The team doesn't lack for talent.
The struggles didn't hurt the team on the recruiting front. They wound up with a Top 10 class last year, which was actually up from where they were the year before. They have 10 four-stars among the group, so they will get some valuable players even if it doesn't happen right away.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Schedule Analysis
It's a tough schedule but probably not as tough as last year. They open with Temple, which should be a solid win unless this team is in more trouble than we think. Games against Boston College, Michigan State, Miami (Ohio), North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest and Navy are all fairly winnable if Wimbush finds his stride and this team is any good, too. The tough games that are left are at home against Georgia and USC and at Miami and Stanford. If the team really rebounds well then those are the games that will define the season. If the team struggles again those games will just be embarrassing.
2017-18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Odds and Trends
The Irish are at +6600 to win the national title at BetOnline , which has them behind 19 other teams. I don't see any value in that price - mainly because there is almost no chance the team will win it all. Wimbush is listed at +5000 to win the Heisman. That seems optimistic for a guy who has barely taken any snaps, but we have learned more than once that lack of experience coming into a season doesn't limit the chances of Heisman success.
Bettors were punished as much as fans were last year - the team went just 4-8 ATS. They were a wash on the total, going "over" and "under" six times each.
2017-18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Predictions and College Football Picks
As much as I hate to say it, this team will improve. Eight wins is the magic number, If they are any good at all they will get to that number. What happens from there is what will be interesting. I place the ceiling at 10 wins and lean towards the under on that - but not with a whole lot of conviction sadly.
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