Notre Dame Betting Odds Preview
After riding a wave of good fortune all the way to the national championship game in 2012 a letdown was almost expected from Notre Dame last season. Then came word last spring that QB Everett Golson was suspended for the year due to academic problems.
But the Irish sucked it up and put on a pretty good performance, winning nine games, including a bowl, and handing Michigan State its only loss of the season. This year the Golden Domers get Golson back, but the schedule is brutal. If the Irish make it to this season's four-team College Football Playoff they'll have done it the hard way.
The Irish started 3-2 last year, losing at Michigan and at home to Oklahoma but beating eventual Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion Michigan State. Notre Dame then won four in a row over the likes of Arizona State, USC and Navy, but lost at Pittsburgh. The Irish then beat BYU, lost a tough one at Stanford, and defeated Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl to finish 9-4 SU but only 5-8 ATS.
Notre Dame is now 37-15 SU in four seasons under head coach Brian Kelly, but only 24-25-3 ATS because, well, they're “Notre Dame.”
This year the Irish return 12 starters, just like last year. Seven starters are back on offense, and that includes Golson, with whom Notre Dame went 10-1 two years ago, and three along the offensive line. But only five starters return on defense, just two among the front seven. Fortunately, three are back in what should be one of the better defensive secondaries around.
This year, as bizarre as this sounds, Notre Dame will play a modified ACC schedule. Even more bizarre? Syracuse and Louisville are part of this plan. Other notables on Notre Dame's schedule include road games at Florida State, Arizona State and USC, home dates with Rice, Michigan, Stanford, North Carolina, Northwestern and Louisville, and a neutral-field battle with Navy in Landover.
According to Phil Steele, the Irish will play the toughest schedule in college football this season.
Notre Dame's Fighting Irish got all the way to the BCS national championship game last season before being exposed by Alabama as overachievers whose luck finally ran out. The Golden Domers won several games by the seat of their golden pants last fall in earning a shot at their first national title since the days of coach Holtz. Now the Irish will try to prove last year wasn't just a case of good fortune.
Notre Dame had 14 starters back last season, and while good things were expected a trip to the BCS title game seemed like wishful thinking. The Irish began the season not ranked in most polls, and faced a brutal schedule. Notre Dame started off with an easy win over Navy in Dublin, won a close game against Purdue, pulled off tough wins over Michigan State and Michigan, then blew out Miami in Chicago.
The Irish then used a goal-line stand to beat Stanford in overtime, then came from behind to beat BYU by a field goal. Notre Dame then put on its best effort of the season in winning 30-13 at Oklahoma, then got very fortunate to beat Pitt in triple-OT. After dispatching Boston College and Wake Forest, and with the whole season on the line, the Irish came up with a winning performance at USC, securing that spot in the BCS title game.
The Golden Domers were obvious underdogs against 'Bama, and it showed in a 42-14 defeat. So Notre Dame finished 12-1 overall, 7-5-1 ATS. This year the Irish return 13 starters, five on offense, including three along the front line, and eight on defense. But they lose QB Everett Golson (to an academic suspension), last year's top two rushers, and last year's leading receiver. Fortunately, they don't have to break in a total newcomer at QB, as senior Tommy Rees already has 18 college starts under his belt. This year's schedule seems a little friendlier than last year's.
Notre Dame has to play at Michigan, at Pitt, and at Stanford, has tough home games with Michigan State, Oklahoma, USC, and BYU, and plays Arizona State at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The Irish could be favored in as many as 10 games this year, although that might just mean they'll be good candidates for bettors to fade.