October 22, 2010

Week 8 Pick: Notre Dame - Navy

Dan: Notre Dame

We have lost 2 of 3 to Navy, but took the one “on the road” 2 years ago. Navy is 4-2, with close losses to Maryland and Air Force, and averaging almost 260 rushing yards a game. This game will always continue to make me nervous until we lay about 3 or 4 30 point beatings on them in a row. Additionally, Kelly has not really had to get ND ready to defend the Naval rushing attack yet. It is a process that takes practice and getting used.

Given that, I’d be very nervous about betting this game. However, I do think ND will win. If Crist can remember he doesn’t suck (I hope, but remain unconvinced), then we should have no problem scoring points. I’d actually like to see us commit to the run a bit more in this game, but don’t really expect that either.

On defense, I would put Manti’s tackles over/under at about 20. If he hits the over, we are probably in good shape. If Harrison Smith or Zeke Motta take too many of those tackles, it means we’re giving up too many yards, and we are in big trouble. I’ll put my faith in Manti, but predict a close game.

Notre Dame 31 Navy 27

Jeremy: Notre Dame

I’m not ready to crucify Brian Kelly for beating a mediocre opponent by 24.  Sure, some of the playcalling was a bit frustrating, but the Irish held WMU to only a FG in the 2nd half, and Cierre Wood showed some nice flashes of that potential we’ve heard so much about.  

It will be interesting to see how Kelly chooses to attack the Middies.  I wouldn’t expect to see a whole lot of running until the Irish get a comfortable lead.  As much as ND fans would love to see the Irish pound Navy into the ground, Kelly’s made his bones throwing the ball and I highly doubt he’s going to switch things up anytime soon.  

With the injury to Theo Riddick, TJ Jones moves over to the slot position, with John Goodman likely moving into a starting role.  Floyd is questionable, but reports today indicate he’s going to give it a go.  

Even if Floyd is forced to miss parts of the game, the Irish shouldn’t have to worry much, as the Middies haven’t shown the ability to stop any of their opponents, either through the air or on the ground.  It took the worst team in Irish history to lose in OT in 2007, and the flukiest game I’ve ever seen last year.  Lightning won’t be striking for a 3rd time.

ND 34  Navy 21

Jimmy: Notre Dame

My computer crashed earlier this evening as I was getting ready to post this.  Couldn't retrieve the copy that I'd meticulously crafted for this matchup, so you get the Cliff Notes version.  

Going out on a sturdy limb and predicting that Brian Kelly will never lose to the Naval Academy as long as he is the head coach of Notre Dame.  

And that's all I have to say about that. (Does that qualify as the Forrest Gump version instead?) 

ND 36  Navy 24

Matt: Notre Dame

I have to start out by saying that I was very disappointed in the gameplan against Western Michigan last week. When you’re playing a MAC team with 200 pound lineman, the plan should be to pound the ball to set up the pass. Apparently, Kelly’s gameplan was pass to set up the pass. Unacceptable, no matter if you run a pro style, spread or any other kind of offense. I’ll give credit for adjustments made at halftime, but still. The point remains.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself, but this has to be the most uninterested in a Notre Dame football game that I’ve been probably since I was a little kid. Just couldn’t care less if I watch it or not. Playing Navy, in a sterile probably half full pro stadium with an 11:00 start time in the Midwest where I’ll be…ugh. Even last week, I watched more of the Auburn-Arkansas second half than I did of ND. And that is a serious problem for ND going forward. I know that the schedules get better in terms of marquee games, but despite the head coaching change and the new offense, ND football to me has just gotten so stale. Maybe it’s the NBC production, maybe it’s the fact that ND hasn’t played REALLY relevant games in forever, maybe it’s the noticeable difference in athleticism and excitement when simultaneously
watching Auburn and Notre Dame. But as an alum and diehard fan, it’s kind of worrying the apathy that appears to be settling in over the ND fanbase. And if I’m way off in those thoughts, so be it…but I don’t think that I am.

As for this game, let’s see Cierre Wood for a whole game of football. We’ll be going up against 200 pound lineman again, so run it early and often. Especially with Riddick out and Floyd a game time decision, the emphasis should be on the run to set up the pass. This edition of Navy football is not nearly as good as the ones that have knocked off ND recently. They barely survived against middling Wake Forest and SMU teams, which I guess by definition makes Navy a middling team. I would love nothing more than for ND to put this game away by halftime, but have a feeling Navy will hang around into the 3rd quarter much like WMU did. I predicted a Bennett Jackson TD two weeks ago (it didn’t happen), but this week I am feeling a defensive TD (Ethan Johnson fumble return). So there you go…

ND 38 Navy 24

Mike: Notre Dame

Against any of the Navy teams from the past five years, I would probably pick the Middies in the outright upset. Those particular teams were remarkably adept at running the option effectively, thereby controlling the clock and shortening the game. Given the maddening inconsistency of the Notre Dame offense, I do not believe that the Irish would thrive in a game that requires heightened offensive efficiency to compensate for the reduced number of

Fortunately for ND, this is not your older brother’s Navy team. Whether this particular team is short on personnel or whether the effects of Paul Johnson’s departure are beginning to manifest themselves in Annapolis, the Middies have not been quite as proficient on offense in 2010 as in past years (currently 68th in total offense and 96th in scoring offense). In addition, though Irish fans should be concerned about their defense’s ability to hold the edge against the Navy option attack, Notre Dame’s rushing defense has been rather stout over the past few weeks against several decent tailbacks. As is always the case against Navy, the cornerbacks and safeties will need to tackle well for the Irish, so injuries in the secondary are a concern for ND.

Ultimately, I believe that Notre Dame will slow Navy’s rushing game enough to allow for the Irish offense to make some big plays through the air. With Theo Riddick and maybe Mike Floyd out, I would like to see more of a commitment to the run this week against an undersized Middie defense, but that’s probably a pipe dream since Brian Kelly didn’t bother running at Western Michigan’s 205 lb defensive end last week (ugh). The Irish will put their weary fans through another Maalox masher in the Meadowlands before eventually surviving.

Notre Dame 28 Navy 24

No comments: