Friday, November 1, 2013
Notre Dame In a Scary Familiar Position
The date was October 31, 2009 (Halloween Night). The Place was San Antonio, Texas. It was the first ever Shamrock Series game against Washington State. The Fighting Irish destroyed the Cougars 40-14. The victory moved the Notre Dame to 6-2 and in a position to contend for a BCS bowl with four games left.
They had four opponents who were beatable but also tough enough to lose to if they didn't play their best. But Irish fans were confident they would go through Navy easily and then go to Pittsburgh and triumph. Connecticut was tough but it won't happen on Senior Day. Finally, Stanford would be a tough test, but Notre Dame owns this series.
Things were really looking up for Notre Dame and fans were talking about what BCS Bowl we would play in. Then it happened. The Irish hit a wall against Navy and fell 23-21. Then proceeded to hit three more walls and lost the rest of their games. Charlie Weis was fired while Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate bolted to the NFL.
Does this sound at all familiar? Notre Dame is coming off a dominant performance to Air Force and guess who is coming to South Bend? That is right Navy. Then once again the team travels to Pittsburgh and a trip to Stanford is the last game. Maybe because it is Halloween I am paranoid, but this is way too familiar. The only difference is BYU is the Senior Day opponent.
The point here is not to scare anybody, just to remind them that any given Saturday you can win or lose depending on how ready you are. It is very easy for Notre Dame to be overconfident against Navy. They have completely dominated the last two meetings including last year in Ireland. Notre Dame actually went 43 years without losing to Navy. However, there was a span in recent years in which the Mid Shipmen won 3 of 4 and as it stands now they do have the number one rushing offense in the nation. However, it is against inferior competition.
Their leading rusher is quarterback Keenan Reynolds with 546 yards and 11 touchdowns. But he has only 667 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as Navy is one dimensional as it always is. And this defense doesn't match up on paper. So Tommy Rees should have another big day throwing to TJ Jones and company.
So if Notre Dame comes out like they have the last three games and plays to their ability, they will help their BCS cause, but if they lose a repeat of 2009 is a real possibility.