Monday, September 22, 2014
Back To Reality For Notre Dame
Bye week is done and it is time for the Fighting Irish to get back to preparing for Syracuse. The reality that played out over the off weekend for Notre Dame is that there are really more questions than answers as far as how good Notre Dame really is. Sure they have looked really good, but it has not really been against anybody yet. I am not trying to be negative, but I have to keep it real.
The Irish have beaten three unranked teams who aren't very good. Rice, though they are the defending C_USA Champs, is 0-3. Certainly there is no shame for a team like Rice to lose handily to Notre Dame and Texas A & M. But Old Dominion??? Really???
Michigan did look impressive against an FCS opponent week 1, since then they have been a disaster. Notre Dame shut them out and then the following week the Wolverines were really not that impressive in beating Miami of Ohio who has the longest current losing streak of 21 games. Now Michigan lost to Utah from the PAC 12. In that game, the offense only managed a field goal. That means that in 8 quarters against major competition, Michigan's offense has 3 points to show for itself. Looking at their remaining schedule, they might only win two more games. While that will make Irish fans chuckle, the reality is that Notre Dame dominated a weaker team.
Ironically, the best team the Irish have played might have been Purdue. I would never would have thought that after they got blown out to Central Michigan, but outside of that game the Boilermakers have been decent. But still they are not a team who will even contend for the Big Ten title and will struggle to even be bowl eligible.
So what do we have with Notre Dame this year? We know that we have a great quarterback who is among the best in the nation. We know he also has a great group of receivers. We don't know how good the line is to protect him. We know we have three really good prospects at tailback, but we don't know if one can establish himself as the featured runner.
We know we have a young and fiery new defense. We don't know how if they can stay disciplined in big games. We also don't know how they will matchup against physical offenses like Stanford and Florida State.
So when I look at that #8 ranking and wonder if it is accurate. If I think with my heart, I say "Hell Yeah!" But if I try to be even a little objective, I have to say we don't know yet.