The Key To Winning this Game Against Miami Will Surprise You

Let me set the scene. New Year’s Eve 2010 started like any other day in the quiet town of El Paso, Texas. The sun was shining, there was a bite in the late December air, and the world was beginning to pull itself out of the recession (I think?). The citizens of El Paso would soon learn, however, that this would be a New Year’s Eve that they would never forget.

For that fateful day in December, the 7-5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish would be facing off against the also 7-5 Miami Hurricanes in the 2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl. In a game that college football personalities and experts everywhere had already written off as a battle between two has-been programs, one man silenced his haters. Not for good, but for as long as the game went on.

That man was none other than #11 in blue, Tommy Rees. The offense EXPLODED like a roman candle and caught the lackluster Hurricane defense totally asleep. Rees went off for an overwhelming 201 yards passing and two TD’s to Michael Floyd, who probably drove to the game drunk. The Irish won the game 33-17 in a game that proved to be the perfect start to what would go on to be a fuzzy new year at best.

Since that historic Sun Bowl victory, the Irish have yet to lose to Miami (go ahead, look it up). This so-called “rivalry” is about as lop-sided as Michael Scott’s mattress with his diary beneath it. And in a year where the Irish could find themselves in the College Football Playoff for the first time since its creation, guess who’s the QB coach. That’s right, Tommy Rees.

People are warning me to be wary of this Miami team, to not get too ahead of myself, but listen — as long as we have good ole Tommy Rees up in the booth I have ZERO doubt in my mind that Notre Dame wins this game Saturday.

Don’t get me wrong, the start of this game will suck. Miami will force an early turnover, flaunt the turnover chain, and for the first time in a long time, Miami fans will arrive on time and be LOUD. But that energy won’t last. Notre Dame will do what they’ve done all year and wear down the Miami defense with a balanced attack, before delivering the final blow with their punishing ground game.

So I’ll let the Miami fans chirp me, try and get in my head. But the reality is I’m much more scared of this Navy game next week than I am of this Miami team. In a rematch of the 2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl, Notre Dame will win by the EXACT. SAME. SCORE.

Notre Dame: 33 Miami: 17

Go Irish. Beat Miami.

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Notre Dame NC State Preview: Stick to the Plan

Notre Dame takes on 14th ranked NC State today in South Bend in a rematch of one of the absolute WORST games of 2016. Actually, maybe not just 2016, but in all of football last year. This time in 2016 I was sitting on patio furniture in my studio apartment in Los Angeles watching these two teams attempt to play an entire football game during a driving hurricane. I was unaware that this hurricane had already hit North Carolina, and brazenly took the over of 51 in a game that finished 10-3 NC State, with the only touchdown coming from a blocked punt.

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But this year will be different than last, since a.) both teams are far more competent than they were last year and b.) to my knowledge, no hurricane is due to slam into South Bend, Indiana this afternoon. This game has potential to be a drop down drag out dog fight, with both teams running the ball in the trenches and trying to win battles at the line of scrimmage. Many articles I’ve read leading up to this week feel this is a “sneaky trap game” after the Irish absolutely pummeled USC last week and NC State coming off a bye.

Here’s the bottom line though: Notre Dame is just better than NC State. Sure, this game may stay close early, but to suggest that NC State is even remotely athletic as Notre Dame is on offense is insulting. Their defense is tough, but so is Notre Dame’s so they cancel out. Notre Dame has Wimbush and Adams running all over teams supported with arguably the best O-Line in college football, NC State does not. Advantage Irish.

At first, I told myself this screamed trap game, but the more I think about it I’m more worried about next week’s home game against Wake Forest being a trap. Coming off of two ranked wins and having to go to Miami the week after, that Wake Forest game scares the crap out of me. As for this week though, ND has too much talent for NC State to hang around all game. Plus, NC State may be looking ahead to their home game vs Clemson next week.

My words of advice are these: don’t panic if this game starts slow and stays close through halftime, this NC State team is good on defense. But the rushing attack of ND will win the day, as Adams will run for another 150+ yards and 2 scores. Go Irish. Beat Wolf Pack.

FINAL – Notre Dame: 38 NC State: 17

Post Bye Week, Let’s Take a Look at Where Notre Dame Sits in the College Football Picutre

The bye week has come and gone for the Irish, so I thought I’d take this off week as an opportunity to reassess the year that’s been, and preview what’s on the horizon for the now 13th ranked team out of South Bend. Year in and year out Notre Dame’s bye week is typically my favorite week of the year, because it’s the only Saturday during college football season where I can act like a sane person, not stressed over how Notre Dame will find a way to lose this week. This bye week was particularly enjoyable, however, because with four ranked teams falling the Irish rose three spots without having to play a minute of football.

 

Truth be told, this year really hasn’t been all that bad watching Notre Dame. I’m often times too pessimistic about Notre Dame, so that’s about as high of a compliment you’ll get from me. But this team has won convincingly against teams they should beat, went on the road and beat Michigan St. soundly in a night game, and were one stupid penalty and two missed field goals away from beating Georgia, who’s now third in the country.

 

These wins have been team efforts too, which is stunning. A common trend for Notre Dame is one player or group shouldering the load that proves to be unsustainable (2012 defense, Brady Quinn, Michael Floyd). This year though, the team appears to be well balanced on both sides of the ball. Drue (crazy way to spell Drew) Tranquill has looked comfortable in the new defensive scheme as the Rover Linebacker, Wimbush is way more athletic than any QB has been in recent memory, and Josh Adams is having a sneaky Heisman worthy season without getting nearly enough love. He is ahead of Barkley in multiple rushing categories, including rushing yards and yards per attempt.

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All this being said, the second half of the schedule is BRUTAL for Notre Dame. They open up this week with a home game against an underachieving #11 USC, home again against #16 NC St which was the ugliest game of 2016 in a driving hurricane, Wake Forest, at #8 Miami, home against Navy who does nothing but score and run clock so that SCREAMS trap game, and finish the year at #22 Stanford. Four out of six opponents ranked in the top 25, and Navy just fell out of that poll a week ago.

 

If Notre Dame survives these six games and wins out there’s no conceivable way they’re left out of the playoff with their only loss coming from the SEC East Champion. The biggest issue facing this team will be stamina and I just don’t know if a run heavy offense will have enough gas to win all six of those games. Hell, having watched Notre Dame for almost 20 years of my life, it wouldn’t shock me if this team found a way to go 1-5 in these games and play in some bowl game I’ve never heard of like the Avocados from Mexico Bowl (which would actually be sick if a. it was a bowl game and b. they played it in Azteca in Mexico City).

 

But, because I seemingly refuse to learn my lesson, I genuinely believe this Irish team can pull this off. The games won’t be fun to watch, my Saturdays will be filled with stress and a looming threat of heartbreak, but I’m all in on this team finding their way into the four-team playoff. Run the ball, eat up clock, the defense will bend not break. It all starts this weekend with USC.

 

Wake up the fucking echoes.

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