With College Football season upon us, we will be previewing the 6 BCS conferences as well as Notre Dame. We will rank each conference on how we see it finishing up, and give a little preview of why the top teams can compete for their conference title. First up we will look at Notre Dame, obviously their isn’t a conference title at stake here, but they are a top 25 team with some serious bowl aspirations. Then I’ll give my top 25 as season begins.
Notre Dame Fighing Irish
Why They Will Contend: The Irish return a very upperclassmen laden team. The Golden Domers have a top notch offensive line led by Sr tackle Sam Young. They will be blocking for 3rd year quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who looks to build upon his 3,000 yard season. Clausen will need to cut down on the interceptions, but when he does find a Notre Dame wideout he has some play makers to work with. Junior Golden Tate and sophomore Michael Floyd are two excellent receivers, and one of the best tandems in the nation. Both guys are threats to always get in the end zone any time they have the ball. On defense the Irish return six starters including three in the defensive backfield. The safety tandem of junior FS Harrison Smith and senior SS Kyle McCarthy should be the Irish’s backbone this year. Junior OLB Brian Smith is the team leader and a force from the outside.
Why They Won’t Contend: Clausen is a nice QB prospect, but he’s been a nice prospect for three years now. With the targets that he has he should be among the top 5-15 quarterbacks in the nation, but he hasn’t been anywhere close to that. His interceptions were back-breakers last season, and he will need to get them under control to take the Irish to the next level. Another issue for Notre Dame is their running game. Even though they return their top 3 rushers and have a good offensive line they averaged just over 3 yards a carry last season. On defense the Irish are solid across the board and have a lot of potential, but they will need some guys to step up. Right now they have too many athletes and not enough players, especially in the front 7.
Offensive Player to Watch: WR Michael Floyd. This could have just as easily been Golden Tate as both are incredible play makers. I think Floyd with his combination of size and speed is going to be a breakout candidate this year.
Defensive Player to Watch: OLB Brian Smith. Smith is a play maker that always is around the ball. He can play inside and outside, but looks to be a full time starter on the outside now. Smith should cause a lot of problems in the backfield for opposing teams.
- Ohio State
- Virginia Tech
- Boise State
- Penn State
- Oklahoma State
- Georgia Tech
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
- North Carolina