Thursday, August 14, 2008

23 Days...

23 days until the Irish open their season against San Diego State.  I can't wait.  I'm ready for football.  This will be a big season for ND and Charlie Weis, of course.  There has been a lot of talk about how good (or bad) the Irish will be this season and there are rumors that Charlie has said the team can win 9 or 10 games.  That may seem ridiculous, but take a look at the schedule:

9/6 - San Diego State
9/13 - Michigan
9/20 - @ Michigan State
9/27 - Purdue
10/4 - Stanford
10/11 - @ North Carolina
10/25 - @ Washington
11/1 - Pittsburgh
11/8 - @ Boston College
11/15 - @ Navy
11/22 - Syracuse
11/29 - @ USC

The two best teams on the schedule are USC and Pitt.  San Diego State is not good, plus they are rebuilding.  Michigan is replacing nearly all of its starters and will be working the kinks out of a new and undermanned offensive system.  Michigan State will be good, but if the Irish play well they can win.  Purdue's offense will be tough but the Irish should be able to score points against them.  Stanford is still rebuilding under Jim Harbaugh (and was one of our three wins last year).  North Carolina is under a new coach and should be decent but that game is certainly winnable.  Washington has a good quarterback that will be tough to stop but that's about it.  Pitt is solid and should be in contention to win their conference.  BC lost nearly all of their starters to graduation and is in a rebuilding phase though they always play ND tough.  Navy will be solid but beatable plus the Irish will have the revenge factor going for them on this one.  Syracuse is one of the worst BCS teams in the country and has been decimated by injuries.  USC should smoke us - unless the Irish decide to repeat their 2005 performance.

I can see where Charlie gets his 9 or 10 wins, but I'm not quite as optimistic.  I'm also not trying to motivate the team by setting high goals.  I think the Irish will finish 7-5.  The team is still young and inexperienced and I think that will cost them a few games.  7-5 will put the Irish in a bowl game which they really need to win so that they can break their bowl game losing streak.  Because ND brings a lot of money to bowl games (the fan base is huge and travels well) and we all know that the bowls are about making money, they'll end up in a higher tier bowl than they deserve and will probably play a BCS team with a 9-3 record.  It will be a good test to see how these kids have grown up over the past two years and it will set the tone for next year when they will be expected to compete for a BCS bowl birth.

It should be a fun season to watch and we'll get a chance to see what will be some future stars start to emerge (hopefully).

**Don't worry, I'll post about the Colts soon.**

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