Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
5 questions, 5 answers as we approach the new year.
1. With their come from behind victory over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, does it inject some life in to Michigan State's program next year?
Maybe, but they are going to have to fix a lot of problems on offense.
A quick perusal of their defense shows they'll lose 4 players which isn't too bad. Yet, this was one of the best defenses they've had in recent memory---and they still lost 6 games.
Yes, those losses were all close (outside of Notre Dame) but 17.9 points per game against BCS teams ain't getting it done.
They have quarterback issues, Le'Veon "tap dance" Bell will probably leave for the NFL, their receivers struggled mightily, and the offensive line is decidedly average.
Somehow they have to inject life into their offense and recruiting (sitting at 43rd nationally in 247's Composite) isn't helping.
2. Did the Alamo Bowl win save Mack Brown's job at Texas?
I didn't think he was gone this year either way. 8-5 or 9-4, even at Texas, wasn't enough to kick Brown to the curb. And now 9 wins can be viewed as progress, plus there was already some coaching shakeups.
I've always been under the impression that Mack Brown is going to coach at Texas for a very long time and that this 2010-12 record of 22-16 won't be enough for Texas to move on. The Good Ol' Boys Club is too deeply entrenched down in Austin, I think.
Also, Texas hasn't made a head coach hire since 1998. Think of everything Notre Dame has been through since then! I just think the Horns will be very, very cautious to move on from Mack Brown.
3. Arizona State scored 62 points on Navy in 3 quarters in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Is it possible the Sun Devils could creep up in to the toughest quarter games of next year's schedule?
I'm not sure that performance does much to move the needle on how we view Arizona State. After all, Notre Dame was going through the motions with a brand new young quarterback in Ireland this year and scored 50 points on Navy---while not giving up 28 points as well, I might add.
ASU will likely be a quality team to line up against inside Cowboys Stadium, nothing more nothing less.
4. Athlon released a Very Early Top 25 for 2013 and has Notre Dame at No. 8 right now. Does that feel about right and where should we expect the Irish to start out next year if they win the national championship?
No. 8 seems about right for now. You can nit pick any of the spots but the Irish will have the defense and quarterback, two major keys in college football, to be right up there with all the teams ahead of them.
Plus, 3 of the 4 players Athlon thought might leave for the NFL are coming back---and even Cierre Wood isn't a lock to be gone either.
If the Irish win the national title they'll probably move up 3 or 4 spots, but they won't pass the Tide no matter what.
5. Not much talk about Ohio State as they're left in the dark this postseason, but soon the hype will begin. How much will the Buckeyes be relevant next year?
I've been pretty adamant about this since before this year began: Urban Meyer is going to dominate the Big Ten and put up an even better record than he did at Florida.
He's recruiting at an elite level, probably better than Jim Tressel did, and he has a great quarterback to build an offense around.
He's 12-0 right now and who is going to beat the Buckeyes next year?
BCS road games at Cal, Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois, and Michigan.
Home tilts against Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, and Indiana.
Is there a game in there outside of maybe Michigan where Ohio State isn't at least a 12-point favorite?
And let's not forget the rest of their schedule being filled out by Buffalo, San Diego State, and Florida A&M.