It’s crunch time. Gut check time. Insert your favorite sports cliche to represent how close we are to the season, and that’s where we are. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football season begins in a little under 3 weeks. It is definitely the time of year where expectations are high as fans get downright giddy seeing fall camp starting. Just like the August weather, the takes are hot, and they are abundant. Everyone on the team looks good in the first few days of camp, but now is the time where real preparations begin.
On top of preparations, many outside distractions and factors have taken shape since late November of 2016, when we concluded our 8th loss of 8 last season. Things such as a lot of new coaches, a new QB, Crossroads, and the Jumbo Tron. To say that the off season has been eventful is a strong understatement. With all that is going on, what should we as fans wanting strongly to get rid of any 2016 memories expect as we go into the 2017 Season?
My Hard-Hitting, Scintillating Take on the 2017 Season
I’m not going to break things down by game, because it is too early for that, and it would take too long. I don’t like talking and meticulously analyzing hypothetical situations. It makes my brain hurt when arguing over made up situations occurs, especially in college football. My general view on this season:
We’re going to be OK and good, but not great, phenomenal, or out-of-this-world. I think I share this view with a lot of Fighting Irish fans. Last year we were 4-8, and I realistically see that flipping to 8-4, with a potential of 9-3 before a bowl game.
This season, I see immense progress. We have many weapons on offense: wide receivers, running backs, the line, and Brandon Wimbush. You all should expect him, however, to be very, very good this year. His skills in running and passing will be what we need to score a lot of points. Sometimes, we might need to be in a shootout this year. The defense has a lot of promise, but also a lot of questions marks. I see them showing up and playing SO much better than last season, but it is a fully new system under Coach Elko. How they develop shall be interesting, and they should overall succeed. There is a lot of strength and talent in these guys, but a learning curve will have to be overcome, I believe.
With all of that, I truly do believe that we will be looking good, just as Mr. Finke shows above. I do see 8-4 or 9-3 happening before a bowl game. Some of our games are easy, but some will be challenging. I think as of right now, the games against the Georgia Bulldogs and the USC Trojans are toss-ups. Being at home for both will help. I see us struggling on the road against the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Miami-Florida Hurricanes. The Stanford Cardinal on the road always seem to give us fits as well. These games are tough for me to predict, so I will say we lose a few of them.
We won’t be perfect, but we won’t be amazing, either. I would say we will be closer to amazing, so I could see 9-3 happening. We are strong and have a lot of positives. Seeing how we handle all of the changes and factors after last season will be intriguing. The team weeds out a lot of the outside noise and handles the adversity of overcoming last season well.
Expect to be a lot better, but not perfect. And hey, if we exceed expectations, just be along for the fun ride.