Notre Dame Football: QB, RB Switch Makes Them CFB Playoff Contenders

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It’s hard to decide which Notre Dame football player has had a more of a positive impact on the 2018 season- quarterback Ian Book or running back Dexter Williams. Both of these offensive skill position players have added a new dimension to the offense and that has in turn changed the outlook for the season entirely.

In the first three games of the season, they were simply just surviving-and-advancing. They were winning, but not in convincing fashion. In the last three, with Book under center, they’re averaging 46.3 points per game and passing the College Football playoff eye test. You got to like their CFP odds now. 

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If you want to wager intelligently this college football season, sites like SportyTrader can give you some relevant info. Here’s one basic fact you need to know down the stretch- Notre Dame football will be favored in all of their games the rest of this season. Right now, at least on paper, it’s hard to see an opponent in the final six games who has the ability to upset the Fighting Irish.  

With Brandon Wimbush at quarterback, Notre Dame won their first three by the scores of 24-17, 24-16 and 22-17. They were essentially just squeaking by. Now with Book running the show, aided by the addition of Williams, who saw his first action in week five, they have won by margins of 29, 21 and 22 points.

With Williams and Book in the fold, this Notre Dame football team is now blowing people out. Williams, with significantly less carries than the other two featured backs, is the team’s leading rusher. His yards per rush is much higher by a substantial margin as well. Book, while seeing subjected to every single literary pun and metaphor by every single football media member on Earth, gives this team capabilities and an overall ceiling that they just didn’t have under Wimbush.

It all begs the question, how does this team stack up to the 2012 Notre Dame football team that finished the season undefeated and played Alabama in the national title game.

“It’s such a different club,” Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly said on conference call the day after routing a good Virginia Tech team on the road.

“It was constructed differently. (The 2012 team) was largely put together on the backs of a great defense and ball-control offense and slugging it out to the very end. Small ball, if you will. We won some very, very close games.”

“The similarities,” Kelly said, “are that they know how to win and (know) the things you have to do in terms of week-to-week preparation.”

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This is the third time that Notre Dame has started 6-0 under Brian Kelly. If they win on Saturday, they’ll become only the second team to start 7-0 in the Kelly era; with the other being the 2012 squad of course.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Sound Cloud and YouTube. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to any and all of his.

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