2019 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Predictions and Odds to Win National Championship
The Irish have double-digit wins two years in a row for the first time since Lou Holtz was in charge of this team and did it from 1991-93. That's a lot of down time for this team, so Brian Kelly deserves a lot of credit for this stretch of success. I will admit, though, that I was highly skeptical of this team last year - which didn't turn out well for me, since they made the playoff. So, when I tell you that I have my serious doubts about this team this year, you may want to judge what you want to do with that accordingly. They have eight returning offensive starters, and experience in the other three spots, so the potential is certainly here. But the schedule sets up as brutal in spots. And despite the success last year, I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And I'll be waiting for it to happen this year as well.
2018 in a Nutshell
Perhaps some of the reason for my skepticism last year was that I watched Michigan play a truly horrible game in their opener, and the Irish won by only a touchdown. And the other reason is that the schedule was much weaker than normal, and Michigan was their only solid opponent. It could have been a tough schedule, but teams like Stanford, USC, Navy and Florida State all had down years at the same time. Notre Dame gets credit for winning the whole way and for mostly avoiding any scares at all. But they still didn't prove that much by the teams they played. After the Michigan game, the first truly impressive team they played was Clemson in the playoff, and Notre Dame didn't even come close to measuring up in an ugly 30-3 massacre.
Key Additions and Departures
The Irish lost six players to the Draft, though DT Jerry Tillery, who went late in the first round, was the only one to go before the 93rd pick overall. Corner Julian Love and receiver Miles Boykin are also guys that will be missed. They also had some transfers that will have an impact. Most notably, QB Brandon Wimbush, who lost the starting job to Ian Book last year, has grad transferred to UCF. That's not a serious concern unless Book gets hurt.
The recruiting class was ranked within the Top 15, which is a solid level given the challenges of recruiting to the school. What stands out most from the solid group is that they had 10 early enrollees - a record number for a school that was much slower embracing that trend than many other schools.
After significant coaching changes the last two offseasons, it was striking that things were reasonably stable this year. The only change was at running back coach - Autry Denson left to take the head job at Charleston Southern, and Lance Taylor, the wide receiver coach with the Carolina Panthers, takes over. The general stability is a positive given the success of last year.
Biggest Area of Concern
The team played one very tough game last year, and they were humiliated. This year they have two games that should be extremely tough and a third that could be a real challenge as well. When the team was punched in the mouth last year, they folded. They just didn't measure up. Can they measure up and find a way to shine this time around? It's a whole lot to ask - too much, perhaps.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Schedule Analysis
As I have said, it all comes down to three games. Unless Virginia Tech or USC are suddenly much better than expected, the baseline for this team should be nine wins. But three road games will be huge challenges. It starts in Week 3 when they travel to Georgia. The Bulldogs should be improved from last year, and they are a very dangerous title contender. Notre Dame is in deep. Just over a month later, they travel to Ann Arbor for a game in their renewed rivalry against the Wolverines. Last year the Irish won, but it sure felt like the Wolverines beat themselves as much as anything. Michigan has a chance to be solidly improved offensively and will be at home and hungry for revenge. The third of the big three games is the easiest, but Stanford should be better than they were last year and are at home as well. It's the last game of the year, so if Notre Dame has already had some struggles, this could easily be a letdown game.
2019-20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Odds and Trends
BetOnline has Notre Dame at +3300 to win the national title, which places them behind nine teams and tied with Florida and Auburn. That puts them outside of the realm of serious contenders. Ian Book is at +2000 to win the Heisman, which puts him at 12th in that race.
2019-20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Predictions and College Football Picks
I have a very hard time seeing this team winning more than 10 games. Last year was just too schedule-aided. And though the talent is solid, they lost a lot and just don't quite measure up in my eyes. I don't see things going well at all at Georgia, and I expect a loss in Ann Arbor. I am just not a particular fan of this team - but if you have read this far you have probably figured that out already.
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