2020 Notre Dame Football Way Too Early Season Preview

The top NFL talent within the Notre Dame football program has mostly resided within the offensive line during the late 2010s and that trend will carry over into the first season of the 2020s. In looking at who’s gone, who’s back and who’s coming in, 2020 Notre Dame football will be strongest on the o-line.

Thus you can expect a really overpowering run centric team, a la the 2017 mold, to show up in South Bend this fall. Given how the team will be going through a complete overhaul in the secondary and defensive end position this summer training camp, the Fighting Irish will likely need to just outscore people this upcoming season. They could be susceptible to opponents’ passing games, and the best way to counteract that is to limit the number of times the opponent has the ball to attack the Irish inexperience.

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#15 Notre Dame vs Iowa State: Camping World Bowl Preview, Prediction

Merry Christmas Notre Dame football fans! Your gift- a Camping World Bowl Preview! This morning, Christmas Eve, the Fighting Irish conducted their first on site bowl game practice. The Irish went 10-2 this regular season, and they’re currently ranked #15 in the college football playoff and #14 in the Associated Press.

Yet here they are in the Citrus Bowl’s junior varsity game, taking on an unranked 7-5 team. Obviously, the Irish deserved a lot better, a whole lot better, but that’s water under the bridge now! Let’s look ahead to the game. 

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In Die Hard, What Christmas Eve Bowl Game has Notre Dame vs USC?

die hard christmas movie

(Editor’s note: re-publishing this holiday season article in advance of Christmas Eve)

This weekend begins the bowl season, and with it the crappy bowl games that very few of us care about. Saturday brings us a cadre of bowl games that are just as awful as whatever bowl game hosted Notre Dame and USC in the classic Christmas film “Die Hard.”

The total number of bowl games has multiplied at an absurd rate these past few decades, but one truth still remains- real bowl games don’t start until after Christmas, and for the most part well after Christmas. Genuinely desirable bowl games still adhere to tradition, and take place on New Year’s. (For a preview of #14 Notre Dame vs #17 LSU go to this link)

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#14 Notre Dame Deserved Better Bowl, but System Retains Flaws

It’s a familiar refrain from Notre Dame haters everywhere: “the Fighting Irish get preferential treatment in the bowl selection process!” Well, that’s not true to begin with, and this year, the polar opposite is true. Having completed a 10-2 regular season, and ranked #15 in the college football playoff and #14 in the Associated Press, Notre Dame is headed to the Camping World Bowl, i.e. the Citrus Bowl’s junior varsity game.

In 2015, ND went 10-2 and got a Fiesta Bowl bid; where they lost 44-28 to Ohio State. In 1994, Notre Dame got to the Fiesta Bowl despite going only 6-4-1 that regular season. They lost to 11-1 and #4 Colorado by a score of 41-24 in that contest. The bowl system has changed a lot over the years, but the flaws remain.  

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Notre Dame QB Coach Tommy Rees is Ideal for Northwestern OC Job

If there’s one candidate who perfectly fits the now vacant Northwestern offensive coordinator position, it’s Notre Dame quarterbacks Tommy Rees, (or as he’s known today Tom Rees). He actually grew up a Northwestern fan in very nearby Lake Forest, Illinois and he already has a good relationship with NU Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Before we get to all that is right with Rees (we had an exclusive with him, and talked NU somewhat during 2018 Notre Dame Media Day), we do need to take some time to reflect on the Mick McCall era; which just ended. No one who makes free college football expert picks saw the rise of NU in 2018, when they went 8-1 in the league and won the Big Ten West division. Likewise no one in the prediction and forecasting business saw fall this season, in which they finished in last place, just 1-8 in conference play.

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CB Troy Pride Helps Notre Dame Finish the Season Strong

Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. helped lead his class of Fighting Irish seniors to a very noteworthy accomplishment in 2019. With a 45-24 win over Stanford today, ND has won at least 10 games for the third season in a row. That hasn’t happened since the early 1990s.

It’s also the first time the Fighting Irish have done that, on the strength of the regular season alone, in school history. Obviously that comes with a big caveat as college football teams play way more games these days, but double digit wins, three years in a row, is hard to do when you play the kind of schedule that the Irish do. When all is said and done, 10-2 is pretty much where the Irish were projected to finish this season.

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Notre Dame Absolutely Obliterates Navy, Achieves Statistical Pile On

For the first time since 1973 (a run of 273 straight games) Notre Dame did not sell out a home football game. Perhaps it’s coincidentally fitting then that the game which finally ended the streak, lacked entertainment value, as Notre Dame dominated so thoroughly right out of the gate, and never looked back.

“Only” (and we really mean the air quotes here) 74,080 showed up at Notre Dame Stadium today for the Fighting Irish 52-20 rout of the Navy academy, but one of those 74K (77,622 constitutes a sellout) and change was literally a rock star- Jon Bon Jovi. Marching band played “It’s My Life” while the scoreboard saluted him.

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#16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs #21 Navy Midshipmen Game Preview

As we enter into the home stretch of the season, who would have thought that Navy might end up being the signature win for the #16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish? The Midshipmen come to town ranked #21 in the nation, and no one that the Irish have beaten this season are still currently ranked in the top 25.

So we’ll see what happens Saturday, and how both teams end up finishing the campaign, but given ND’s remaining schedule, and the fact that Virginia, Virginia Tech and USC are not likely to end the season in the top 25, this might be the Fighting Irish’s biggest resume win; should they emerge victorious on Saturday. It won’t be easy though, as ND will be limited and series and possessions, meaning they’ll need to capitalize almost every time that they have the ball.

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Travel and Field Guide to Notre Dame on Home Football Game Days

On Saturday I’ll be guiding at least two, if not all three of my sisters’ husbands at their first ever Notre Dame home football game. It’s a really good one too, as the #16 Fighting Irish will be taking on #21 Navy. Full game preview and prediction available at this link.

Coincidentally, my very first ND game was also against the Naval Academy, back in 2007. That was a historical game, as it marked the first time that Notre Dame lost to Navy since the Roger Staubach era (1963). The game went to triple overtime, with a final score of 46-44. This ended Notre Dame’s 43, yes 43, game win streak in the series.

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Notre Dame Escape Va Tech, Achieve Potentially Season Defining Win

At his weekly press conference, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said today’s meeting with Virginia Tech was about a lot more than bowl games and playoff appearances. Kelly said this was about purpose and motivation, “what is your why” he said specifically.

The blowout at Michigan last week ended what was left of ND’s playoff chances, and it also put the Fighting Irish in a spot where a New Year’s Six bowl berth was highly unlikely. A third loss on the season, a potential scenario that was just seconds away from unfolding, (at home no less, which would have ended a 15 game Notre Dame Stadium win streak), would have put an end to the NY6 hopes. However, quarterback Ian Book and the rest of the Notre Dame football team found their “why,” and pulled it out 21-20.

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Notre Dame 14, Virginia Tech 14: First Half Notes and Tidbits

Jafar Armstrong is now fully back; and healthy. It looked like the story of the first half was the feature back’s redemption/comeback story…until his lost fumble. It’s the first time Armstrong has lost the ball since November 15, 2015.

Unfortunately, the lost fumble resulted in a 98 yard touchdown return by Virginia Tech’s Divine Deablo, which tied the game, just before halftime. Despite a 243-85 advantage in yards gained, ND is knotted up with VT at 14 at the break.

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#16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Virginia Tech Hokies Game Preview

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Head Coach Brian Kelly met the media today for his weekly Monday news conference and he had a lot to say, big picture about the season and what’s left of it. ND didn’t have much of a shot at the college football playoff heading into the Michigan blowout, but the sliver of CFP hopes got washed away in the Ann Arbor monsoon Saturday night.

“We got what we deserved and Michigan outplayed us,” Kelly said. “They out-hustled us. They were more physical. They out-coached us. And, you know, those things unfortunately are the realities of it.”

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