Dan: Michigan State
Every time I think we have a gut wrenching loss, I always think it will be difficult to top that one. I know there is always a bit of a recenct bias, but last week’s loss feels like the worst loss since the 2005 USC game. We dominated Michigan for 3 quarters after a fluky first week game, and things looked like maybe this team could reel off a string of victories. And then the wheels came off. Granted, even before the 4th quarter, the turnover issues continued. But the offense moved the ball and the defense dominated the Wolverines.
What will happen this week? Can ND stop turning the ball over? Can Ben Turk convert practice punting to game punting? Can Gary Gray remember to turn around and recover his form from last year? Michigan State is the toughest team we have played this year, and I am not convinced that there are enough “Yes” answers to those questions.
Michigan State 27 Notre Dame 23
Jeremy: Michigan State
I do still think that ND can be a great team this year, but I have no confidence that they can actually WIN a game. And I am now legitimately terrified that any decent QB, with an adequate stable of WRs, can rip this secondary apart. Until they show me a complete performance, I'll have an awful tough time picking the Irish.
Jimmy: Notre Dame
Common sense screams that the Spartans will play spoiler in South Bend again. They’re the best of ND’s first 3 opponents. They’re led by a savvy senior QB with a nice complement of offensive threats. They gave up 1(!) first down last week. Not a typo. One. I don’t care if you’re playing Little Sisters of Mary. That’s impressive. But I'm standing by the Irish. They exorcise the demons of the 1st two weeks by finally playing a complete game for 60 minutes, not 3 quarters or 55:30. MSU runs a more traditional dropback passing / power rushing offense that the defense will have to slow down. I like Manti and Dan "The Mane Event" Fox's chances. Very curious to see how much an impact Tuitt and Lync make on the line. On the other side of the ball, Cierre Wood will churn out another 20+ effective and carries and Mr. Floyd be his normal unguardable self. Granted, it would also help if Teddy Ruxpin and HR Pufnstuf were calling defensive plays and the visitors locker room was well-stocked with applesauce.
BK knows he has the talent. He believes they can still salvage this season. The players - every single one of them from Te'o down to the walk-ons - must believe in themselves to turn the toxic tide growing around them. Shut everything out and play some football. It begins Saturday.
ND 27 MSU 17
Mike: Michigan State
Yawn. Groundhog Day: the offense will move the ball pretty well at times and Mike Floyd will have a monster game, but the host Irish will again bury themselves in an avalanche of mistakes. Yet another win for Michigan State in Spartan Stadium South.
Michigan State 34 Notre Dame 31
Phil: Notre Dame
Stupified, shocked, appalled, frustated, etc etc etc.
I have never heard of a team going 80 yards in 3 plays with 20 seconds left to get a winning TD. WTF?!? Were we in a prevent? Why single coverage then? And why no pressure? One stat I read somewhere was that no Michigan drive lasted longer than 5 plays! I cannot imagine how this sort of thing occurs.
But let me try - the Irish don't seem to know how to win(obviously). We come into each season with voices and propaganda discussing BCS bowls and big expectations. I think the players and even the coaches are affected by this talk and they have an inadvertent leap before you crawl mentality. BK should hide all the traditional paraphanalia and all the banners and focus on each player beating their man on each play.
I remember at a halftime interview last year of a game we were losing, where BK said "you can't win championships, if you can't run the football..."
Championships?!? Dude, you are losing to Tulsa at the half. One step at a time, get back to fundamentals and stop buying into the ND mystique.
A wise man once taught me a valuable lesson - "greatness is nothing more than the act of achieving greatness."
We have players, we have the coaches, now we need to figure out "what it takes" to win. This has nothing to do with schemes or play calling. This is about beating your man one play at a time. Who knows if we have learned that yet, but at the end of the day, I am an Irish fan.
Irish 28 MSU 21