Notre Dame vs. Purdue: the Brutally Honest Game Preview

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Basically, college football is to me what cocaine is to Paris Hilton- I go through withdrawal without it. Therefore, as the season begins (and that long offseason finally ends) I’m covering not one but two games this week. For preview one, Ohio State vs. Marshall go here.

Throughout the season, I’ll be bringing you these informative yet blunt game previews of every contest I cover; with a heavy focus on Northwestern, Illinois, Notre Dame, and the Big Ten in general.

From a national relevance standpoint, Virginia Tech vs. Boise St. is the game of the week, but from a fun-to-watch standpoint, I think Saturday’s shootout in South Bend, Notre Dame versus Purdue, is the winner hands down. Unless you’re really into punting, then the game will likely do nothing for you. This season opening battle between two “Crossroads of America” rivals will feature two dynamic spread-option offenses, minimal breaks between plays, and quite possibly 700+ combined passing yards.

If you have a Labor Day weekend cookout that might preclude from watching this game, skip it!

By Paul M. Banks

jesus notre dame

Notre Dame synopsis: The golden-domers are beginning a new era with Head Coach Brian Kelly, and breaking in a new quarterback in Dayne Crist. Coach Kelly made it quite clear at Media Day who his leaders on offense and defense will be this season.com

“There are guys that people gravitate towards. There are guys that set a standard for the way they play. And right now it’s (Manti) Te’o on defense and (Michael) Floyd on offense,” Kelly said at the season opening presser.

Te’o, an inside linebacker, is one of those all-worldly college football recruits that earn the highest ratings possible from every recruiting service imaginable. His recruiting process was highly publicized, and his final two choices were the Irish and USC. Given the current direction of the two programs, it’s pretty obvious he made the right choice.

When Kelly arrived at ND, I knew Floyd would either be kicked off the team, or set to become a Biletnikoff award front-runner. This is what Kelly said of Floyd at Media day:

“Believe me, I’m not easily impressed. Again, going back to where I thought he was, watching film last year, wasn’t all that impressed with him.

I’m very impressed with his work. He’s been outstanding. He’s set a bar for the way all of our other players need to compete on a day to day basis.”

Look for Crist to hook up with him early and often on Saturday.

What Brian Kelly brings to the coaching table is a record of winning at every level he’s been a part of. At Division II Grand Valley State he won two national titles, played for a third, and took home two Coach of the Years awards. At the Division I level, Kelly took Central Michigan from laughingstock to MAC Champion; before going to Cincinnati and taking a traditional basketball school’s mediocre football program to two BCS games. He also won three consecutive Big East and a couple national Coach of the Year awards while running the Bearcats show.

On Saturday, he’ll look to begin his legacy on college football’s biggest stage. It would help him tremendously if Floyd and Crist do some things that are headline worthy, and start to establish their individual names too.

robert-marve

Purdue synopsis: Purdue’s schedule is like a reverse mullet: party in the front, business in the back. Well it becomes a party after this game, which will do a lot for building the Boilers’ confidence in September and if things go well for them, they’ll enter Big Ten conference play raring to go. You know the Boilers will throw and throw well, especially with the league’s leading pass receiver Keith Smith returning. And they have a flashy new quarterback in Miami transfer Robert Marve. In addition to his arm, he runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. He’ll benefit from being back in the spread. At Miami, his game suffered from being in an unfamiliar system.

“Honestly, I understand this offense much more than the offense I played in my whole time when I was at Miami,” Marve said. “Everything slows down for you. It’s like the first time that you’re doing something, and you’re just not sure what you’re doing. When you see 5 or 6 different coverages in a game, you know, it’s crazy.  And now, when you get a little older, you start laughing at the things you used to miss. You see the safeties depth, or one of the corners leaning in, and all of the sudden, what was once so complicated isn’t so complicated any more.”

Guys you’ll see Saturday eventually playing on Sundays: Floyd could be a first rounder, Te’o looks like a 2012 first rounder, and ND tight ends Kyle Rudolph, and to a lesser extent Mike Ragone should also join them in the league one day. One Purdue scouts are high on DT Ryan Kerrigan. Signal-caller Marve may have some potential too, remember in high school he broke some of St. Tebow’s major state of Florida passing records, so if he adjusts to his transfer and flourishes…he’s at the perfect place for breeding pro QBs.

Prediction to be taken with a grain of salt (actually make that a whole truckload of salt)

ND 38, PU 24

Coach Hope talked about opening up against a tough, big name opponent, and how he would prefer it. “As long as they don’t have a game before ours, as long as it’s even. If they had a game before we played them, I’d have concerns. I’ve been in that boat before. That’s really tough because they’ve already weathered some of their errors or first-game blunders. It’s Even-Steven we have a new quarterback, they have a new quarterback. They got some great
guys, we got some great guys.”

I believe ND just has more great guys, and we’ll see that Saturday.

Written by Paul M. Banks, president and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest-focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru

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