Notre Dame: Are They for Real?

Written by:
Tony George
Published on:
Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish have always been a public team, so last year's collapse and 1-9 SU start to the season was national news. Their eventual 3-9 SU losing record for the year was especially surprising since Notre Dame had been a combined 19-6 SU in 2005 and 2006 and entered their BCS bowl games with #5 and #11 national rankings.

Notre Dame's sudden fall led to a 0-4 ATS start in 2007, but the oddsmakers quickly adjusted and Notre Dame actually finished last year with a respectable 5-3 ATS record in their final eight games. Notre Dame started the year 1-9 SU, but they did finish on a 2-0 SU run and their 16 returning starters has led many pundits to predict Notre Dame would be the "most improved" team in the nation this year. The Irish are off to a 2-0 SU start, but upon closer inspection it appears Notre Dame might not be as strong as everyone thinks.

Notre Dame's first win came at home versus San Diego State on September 6th with a 21-13 final score, however the Irish were actually outgained in that game, 342-345 in total yards. San Diego State is not a good team and lost outright 29-27 in their season opener versus I-AA Cal Poly in a game in which the Aztecs were outgained by 104 total yards (379-483). San Diego State was also destroyed 35-10 by San Jose State last week as the Spartans held an incredible 659-286 total yard edge.

The fact Notre Dame's offense only gained 342 yards at home versus San Diego State is not impressive, especially since the Aztecs have allowed two weaker opponents to gain 483 and 659 yards this season.

Notre Dame's second win this year came last week with a 35-17 victory versus Michigan. Once again, this result might seem impressive on the surface, but Notre Dame was actually outgained by 128 total yards (260-388) in the game and only won because of 6 Michigan turnovers.

Michigan is an offense that is struggling to adapt to new head coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. In fact, the Wolverines had gained just 203 total yards versus Utah and only 281 total yards versus Miami-Ohio in the previous two weeks, so the fact Notre Dame allowed 388 total yards last week does not speak well for the Irish stop-unit.

The season is still young and Notre Dame will improve as the season progresses. They are 4-0 SU in their past four games since the end of last year and an easier schedule this season, which includes home games versus Stanford and Syracuse and road games versus Navy and Washington, should enable the Fighting Irish to become bowl eligible. However, it is too early to suddenly proclaim that Notre Dame has returned and the "most improved" team this year might very well be the "most overrated" team at this point of the season.

Authored by Steve Merril, currently on a 19-4 run in all sports at www.sportsaudioshows.com Catch Steve Merril, Tony George, Doc Sports, the red hot John Ryan and 12 other top shelf cappers with 5-7 FREE PLAYS daily, not to mention Guaranteed sports picks nad tons of match up stats as well!

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Tony George, Gambling911.com

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