Early Outlook

Over the weekend the Irish kept its fading tournament hopes alive with a 69-67 2OT win over Louisville. This was the first time the Irish had won in the state of Kentucky since 1980. More importantly these are the type of wins that put a team into the big dance. Notre Dame now sits 10-6 overall and 1-1 in the conference. 

Even though its still early, Notre Dame can't afford to lose more than seven games from here on out til the Big East tournament. Last year only five at-large team made the tournament with 14 losses and one of those teams was Marquette who had an RPI of 64 and an SOS of 30. This year Notre Dame currently ranks 104 in the RPI and its SOS is 87. For Notre Dame to make the dance they will have to go 10-8 in the conference and win a game at the Big East tournament. That would put the Irish at 20-13 and 10-8 overall which would almost be a lock for the tournament. However the Irish still have games against five ranked opponents, not including road trips to West Virginia, Villinova, and St. Johns.

Michael Floyd's Record 28 Touchdowns

Irish pick up Davaris Daniels

The Irish received a commitment from Davaris Daniels out of Vernon Hills High School in Illinois. Davaris is 6'3 190lbs and runs a 4.45 40yd dash. A college coach couldn't ask for a better arsenal for a WR recruit. Rivals.com list Davaris has a 4 star, 154th overall in the nation, 15th best WR, and 2nd best in the state of Illinois. 

Daniel's dad is former Bears defensive end Philip Daniels and is currently playing for the Washington Redskins. Phillip announced his sons commitment on twitter earlier

@P_Daniels93:

"Proud to announce that my son DaVaris has committed to Notre Dame. Congrats to him on his decision. ND got one hell of an athlete"

Davaris is the same type of receiver as current Notre Dame star Michael Floyd. Floyd coming out of high school was 6'3 195lbs and ran a 4.55 40 yd dash. Davaris is slightly smaller but also faster. If he develops into something close to the player the Floyd is, the Irish will be in good shape.

Also, Daniels had a very interesting take on Kelly's recruiting ability. Above all else, everyone touted Weis' prowess on the recruiting trail. Looks like this is one recruit Weis couldn't have gotten, but Kelly did:

"I actually used to hate Notre Dame to tell you the truth," Daniels said. "I never got the whole vibe. I went to the USC game last year and didn't get a good vibe. Then Coach Kelly came in, the whole mood changed. It is great."

Stanford Preview

Stanford

Rank: #16
Record: 3-0
Passing yards: 47th (233.0)
Rushing yards: 14th (242.3)
PPG: 3rd (51.7)
Points against: 16th (13.7)

Key Players:

QB; Andrew Luck #12. The junior with Pac-Ten player of the year is aiming higher this year. He's putting himself in legit contention for the Heisman Trophy. Luck has completed 45 of his 70 attempts for 674 yards and 10 touchdowns with zero interceptions. He will likely be without his top receiver from a year ago Ryan Whalen who has a dislocated elbow. 

WR; Doug Baldwin #89. With Ryan Whalen doubtful for this weekends game the Cardinal will look to go to Baldwin more. He has three touchdowns in as many games and 191 yards but only 10 receptions.

Last year:

Stanford won a barn burner 45-38 has Toby Gerhart rushed for his third touchdown of the game with 59 seconds left has the Irish defense purposefully let Gerhart run threw them on the TD to give the Irish offense a chance. 

Prediction:

The Cardinal hasn't won in South Bend in 18 years, but this year around its different. Stanford is 16th in the nation and his off to a quick 3-0 start has the Irish are 1-2 and on a 2 game losing streak. The Irish will have to stop Luck and Coach Kelly must get the Irish offense in a rhythm if they want to win this one. I don't expect the Irish to win this one but don't be shocked if they pull off the upset.

Stanford 35-31

 

Moving Forward or Backwards?

At this time it is hard to tell if Notre Dame is actually moving forward or just simply running in place. The Irish blew another 4th quarter lead to lose in OT on a fake FG. The Irish have now lost 6 out of 7 games, blowing 4th quarter leads in 4 out of the past 5.  Half of those have came this year against Michigan and Michigan State. This looks like the same team has last year only with a slightly better defense (not on paper) and a worse offense. Last year Notre Dame went 2-1 vs Michigan, MSU, and Purdue but only won by a combined 6 points. We got lucky.

Now Notre Dame is sitting at 1-2 and could very well be looking straight into the eyes of a 1-5 start with Stanford this week, at Boston College, then back at home vs Pitt. But this is not the end, this is obviously not the time to already give up on Brian Kelly. I have 

already seen numerous people on twitter and other blogs seem to give up on Coach Kelly. in 1986 in Lou Holtz started his 1st season as the Notre Dame head coach, starting off 1-4 and finishing with a 5-6 record—the same 5-6 record from the year before.

Coach Kelly was brought to Notre Dame to win championships because of his ability to develop players. It's going to take more time than just spring practice and 3 weeks into the season to be able to develop a team that has been lacking fundamentals for the past several years. Even though the stats are still not better, by just watching a Notre Dame games this year you can see an improvement in fundamentals. Aside from some very bad missed tackles this past Saturday, the tackling is much improved with alot more players wrapping up instead of just trying to hit them. The penalties are down from a year ago, again aside from the 7 penalties from this past Saturday.

The season is not completely lost, I like many Irish fans was hoping for a quick turnaround and a BCS bowl berth. We can rule that out now, but I'd still be more than happy to see the Irish land in a respectable bowl like the Champs Sports bowl. These next couple of weeks will be the make or break point in the season. The Irish can win a couple and have a realistic chance at 8 wins but they easily could easily lose a couple and wind up not going to a bowl. 

Either way i expect the Irish to be in contention for a BCS bowl next year, anything less would be a disappointment.

 

 

Michigan State preview

Michigan State

Rank: NR
Record: 2-0
Passing yards: 94th (164.0)
Rushing yards: 11th (261.0)
PPG: 39th (34.0)
Points against: 32nd (15.5)

Key Players:

RB; Edwin Baker #4. The sophomore from Highland Park, Michigan has well played in his first two games this year rushing for 117 yards against Western Michigan and 183 yards against Florida Atlantic. He has already topped his TD total from a year ago with 3 TD's. Baker only rushed for a total of 427 yards last year on 85 carries with only 1 TD. It's hard to tell how well Baker actually is because he has yet to face a marginal run defense has FAU has let up 570 rushing yards in 2 games and Western Michigan has only played Nicholls State other than MSU. Look for MSU to give Baker his carries this weekend has he is the key for them this weekend.

LB; Greg Jones #53. He was the 2009 Big Ten defensive player of the year and by no surprise 2010 pre season Big Ten defensive player of the year. Not to mention he was also a 2009 consensus first team All-American. Jones recorded a total of 153 tackles last year, 66 solo along with 9 sacks. This year he has 20 tackles and already 2 forced fumbles.

Prediction: Irish 28-17

Michigan Preview

Michigan
Rank: NR
Record: 1-0
Passing yards: 79th (186.0)
Rushing yards: 13th (287.0)
PPG: 59th (30.0)
Points against: 27th (10)

Key Players:
QB; Denard Robinson #16. The sophomore got his first start last week against UCONN and made the most of it. He had a combined total of 383 yards: 186 passing and 187 rushing. He also had a TD on the ground and through the air. Notre Dame's ability to stop Robinson's speed will be a major factor tomorrow.
 
Last year: Yea we all remember what happened last year. Michigan took an early lead in the

1st quarter and went up 14-3. Notre Dame came storming back in the 2nd quarter to take a 20-17. Michigan then went back up 31-20 in the 3rd and when everyone thought the game was over Notre Dame came back to go up 34-31 with 5 minutes left in the game. The Irish kicked the ball back off and made a huge defensive stop and got the ball back but failed to close it out giving Michigan the ball back with 2 minutes to go. Tate Forcier then made quick work of the Irish, scoring with 11 seconds left to win it. The Irish defense failed to stop Forcier as he passed for 240 yards and rushed for 70 while combining for 3 TD's.

Defense: Notre Dame will have their hands full on defense against Denard Robinson. This will be the first test for Bob Diaco's defense. The Irish have to stop Robinson on the ground and make him try to beat 'em through the air. If Bob Diaco's defense cant stop Robinson, it could very well be a long day for the Irish. 
 
Offense: Notre Dame will look to go after a weak inexperienced secondary. Michigan lost Senior Corner Troy Wolfolk to a broken leg in August. All Big-Ten selection Donovan Warren left for the NFL a year early last year. The Irish will attack them with Michael Floyd who had 137 yards and 7 receptions and a TD last year vs Michigan. I believe this week Dayne Crist will be a  bit more confident in the passing game after getting his first start out of the way. Brian Kelly will look to Crist to lead the Irish against Michigan's inexperienced corners. I believe this will be Crist's break out game. Also don't be surprised if the Irish look to run the ball a bit as Armando Allen had 139 yards on 21 carries last year vs Michigan. Cierre Wood and Allen combined to rush for 151 yards on 25 carries last week.

Prediction: Last week I had Notre Dame winning this game no doubt but after seeing Denard Robinson last week I'm a little hesitant. I still think Notre Dame will pull out the win at home.

Final Score, Notre Dame 27-23 

Purdue Preview

Purdue-
Preseason rank: NR
Record: 5-7*
Passing yards: 34th (255.3)*
Rushing yards: 75th (136.1)*
PPG: 35th (27.8)*
Points against: 91st (29.1)*
*2009 stats
 
Key Players:
QB; Robert Marve. He was a four star quarterback from Tampa Florida in 2007. Signed with Miami and stayed there until after his Sophomore season, Marve only got action has a sophomore where he passed for 1293 yards and 9 TDs while throwing 13 ints. Marve was later beat out by star Miami QB Jacory Harris. Marve then transferred and sat out a year and will finally be getting another chance to show off what he's got.
 
WR; Keith Smith #9. Last year Smith caught 91 passes for 1100 yards and 6 TDs. Against the Irish last year, Smith showed off his top talents catching 11 passes for 136 yards and a TD.
 
DE; Ryan Kerrigan #94. The senior out of Muncie, Indiana recored a total of 66 tackles and 12 sacks last season. Kerrigan was one of the few, maybe only bright spot on the Purdue defense last year that was 91st in the nation in points against.
 
Prediction: ND 31-24 

Liar Liar: Lane Kiffin

    USC has stayed classy of course like usual and chosen Lane Kiffin to become their next head coach. Kiffin quickly bolted out of knoxville after just one year one the job. He left the university with no problems at all just a couple NCAA violations. So the Tennessee students/fans/alums are more then furious. On Tuesday students gathered around and chanted "F*** you Kiffin", I wouldn't it a riot but it was close has UT students were lighting things on fire like a mattress, mostly paper, and in one video a guy made a torch. Some angry fans even raided Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex and yelled at Lane Kiffin when he was telling his ex-players that he will be very loyal and leave them. I'm sure they were all very proud of him. 

     

    Lane Kiffin was introduced as the Head Football Coach at USC on Wednesday. It went just as planned, full of lies. Lane Kiffin actually got into an argument with LA times writer TJ Simmers about how Lane Kiffin said he wouldn't recruit any UT players unless they called him. Turns out his good assistant Ed  Orgeron has already called UT commits, that means theres a good possibility that Kiffin did to. After Kiffin started saying things over again he confused everyone when trying to explain the commit situation that SC AD Mike Garret had to stand up, stop Kiffin from being an idiot, and to of course get a new question going. So Kiffin has started out great, couldn't be better. Now going into this conference i knew i was going to at some point just start laughing. I was hoping for some trash talk against ND. Or just him saying "I cant wait to commit some major recruiting violations after we beat Notre Dame next year. Its going to be a blast!!". I'm just glad we have Brian Kelly.

    USC sent the wrong message to the NCAA about cleaning up their act. SC did the opposite of cleaning up their act when they hired a guy who has a past of recruiting violations. Kiffins violations have all been secondary violations unless the most recent one about hostesses turns out true and ends up more then just a secondary violation.

    At this moment, I cannot wait for ND vs SC next year. No matter what the records are this game will be remembered. It's the classy Brian Kelly vs the most hated college football coach in the country Lane Kiffin. I really wish recruits would start questioning this guy. He has nothing. He is not loyal at all and he is selfish. I hope we destroy him.

Irish add depth at QB

    Brian Kelly got another solid commitment today, solidifying the depth at quarterback. Andrew Hendrix recommitted to Notre Dame today, choosing the Irish over the Gators. Hendrix originally committed to Weis and his staff all the way back in june. Here's an article from back in june from Truegipper. Hendrix is now the second QB in the class high school class of 2010. Tommy Rees from Lake Forest, Illinois is the other QB who enrolled early so he can practice with the team in the spring. To add to the depth at quarterback Nate Montana transferred back from Pasedena College. Some even thought that WR John Goodman would be moved back to QB (use to play QB in high school). Now with the Irish gaining Montana and Hendrix this week, Goodman will stay at wideout.

I would like to see Kelly bring in a more mobile QB in the years to come. I liked the play of Cincy QB Zach Collaros last year, he rushed for 325 yard in 5 games when starting QB Tony Pike was hurt. It wasn't like ColIaros had blazing speed, he just had good speed for a QB. am not questioning at all what Brian Kelly is doing, I am just saying that I think a mobile QB would only be for the best. Plus it would be pretty awesome to watch.