The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 5-0 and are making a lot of noise in the world of college football. Ian Book has been tremendous in his two starts this year, and with him at quarterback, the Irish offense looks entirely different (better) than what it was for the first three games of the season.
Dexter Williams finally exploded on the 2018 scene last week, and adds that — well... explosion that had been lacking the Notre Dame offense.
The defense continued to be dominant and pretty much suffocated the Stanford offense. Jerry Tillery led the way with 4 sacks, but it was the entire defensive front applying pressure, and the secondary providing great coverage that made it a great night for Notre Dame football.
Next up... the Virginia Tech Hokies and Lane Stadium!
This season, instead of everyone picking five or six games with little to no explanation, the staff will pick the Notre Dame game AND one other team they have each chosen to follow this season, and will give predictions for that game as well.
I highly encourage you (our loyal readers) to do the same. In the comments below, give your prediction for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish AND take another team to follow and predict. Maybe you watch the Arizona Wildcats on the side, or the Kentucky Wildcats or the Kansas State Wildcats— whoever. Join in and expand your love of Notre Dame Football into college football as a whole.
Here we go...
Notre Dame 38, Virginia Tech 27
There is no indication that Notre Dame will experience a drop off simply because another week has passed. When the season began, I would have been more concerned about the big game environment, but ND looked competent and confident against Michigan and Stanford. Worried about a Miami repeat? Consider this - we just discovered oil underneath our passing game and the Hokies allow 300+ yds a game in the air, ranked 123rd. Conversely, they are 4th in the nation stopping the run. Dex takes a backseat, and we all thank heaven Kelly’s offense is so darn balanced.
On paper, one could make a case for a sneaky Texas upset. Heck, they’ve beaten two ranked teams. They knocked off a pesky KSU team last week, and their defense allows less than 20 points a game. But, that would fail to recognize that Oklahoma is flat-out a better team with more momentum. Oh, and the fact that last week against Baylor, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray recorded more touchdowns than runway 3 at DFW International Airport.
Notre Dame 45, Virginia Tech 20
Picking this game to have a three touchdown spread was, admittedly, difficult to do. Maybe it’s the memories of blown games against ranked opponents in which the Irish looked like the superior team entering the contest, or maybe it’s that there’s quite a few things to like about this Hokies team. Either way, I’m going against my gut here. Notre Dame appears to be far and away the better team, and I’m betting they play like it on Saturday.
I almost picked Washington to win 38-14, because both Colorado and Fresno State have beaten UCLA by scoring 38 in consecutive weeks. But Washington is more talented than both of those teams and should put up better numbers. Add that to the fact that this UCLA team is just not ready to hang with a top-10 team like Washington in any way, and this one shouldn’t be close.
Notre Dame 38, Virginia Tech 27
I still think the Irish come out swinging in the first half to take the lead. The offense will be too much, and VT’s backup QB won’t be able to handle enough of a comeback. I think we see a 28-27 or 31-27 lead in the 4th, but the Irish open the scoring a bit to take a 2-possession win.
This is homecoming for the Chips, but Buffalo has been pretty good so far this season. They will probably ruin the party. They kind of have a Power 5 win after beating Rutgers a couple weeks ago. Last week, the Bulls got smoked by Army, but they will bounce back. The Chips are very much struggling this year, so it won’t be close.
Notre Dame 33, Virginia Tech 24
I am curious to see how the Irish react in a hostile environment, and if they can give fans a courtesy flush of the rank turd left in Miami Gardens last year. Based on the Stanford game, I feel confident enough in Chip Long and Clark Lea to predict something close to a double digit win for the Irish, despite it being a true road game.
Navy comes off a much needed bye week, if there is such a thing after 4 games. Many of their skill players have been banged up and while Malcolm Perry is probable for this game, Zach Abey is still doubtful. Navy is 0-2 on the road this year, though I do believe they can eek out a 3 point win against the Chair Force.
Notre Dame 37, Virginia Tech 23
Lane Stadium will be pretty crazy, and the Hokies will make a couple big plays (perhaps some Beamer Ball on special teams???) to keep it in doubt for a while, but Notre Dame’s defense and Ian Book calmly managing the offense will combine to ultimately pull the Irish away from the Hokies in the final quarter.
ODU handled Virginia Tech a couple weeks ago, but I don’t care. It’s time for Joey Freshwater and the boys to snap this two-game losing streak and get back on track.
Notre Dame 38, Virginia Tech 24
Notre Dame starts a bit slow under the bright lights and stadium of Blacksburg. VT may even get out to an early lead before Notre Dame responds with a strong 2nd quarter and a stronger second half. Look for the offense to move quickly and methodically down the field.
Holy Cross Crusaders 18, New Hampshire Wildcats 24
Holy Cross loses another close game against the Wildcats. Coach Bob Chesney is getting closer, and look for the team to have a strong finish in the back half of the season.
Norte Dame 20, Virginia Tech 17
I was terrified of this game after watching the Hokies destroy the Seminoles in Tallahassee in week one, but switching to Ian Book at quarterback is starting to look like one of the brilliant moves of the Brian Kelly era. This Saturday, the Irish go to Blacksburg to play under the lights in a hostile environment, but the Norte Dame offense looked too good against Stanford last week for me to go against them.
The Eagles make the trip down I-94 west to take on their rivals in Kalamazoo. What once looked like another season culminating in a bowl appearance for EMU is no longer looking as promising. I’m liking what I’m seeing from this offense, but they still keep coming up short when it matters most. Yet another OT loss last week has me just hoping that if they lose, it’s by more than one score.
Notre Dame 33, Virginia Tech 17
I see no reason to believe that the Irish won’t turn in another good offensive performance against the Hokie defense. On the other side of the ball, the Irish will hold the Virginia Tech offense to 17 points, as is customary for this team.
Akron already has a win over a B1G team in Northwestern (and I feel like maybe would have beaten Nebraska, too) to go along with a tough loss to Iowa State and a blowout win over a Morgan State. I don’t think they’ll have any problem with the RedHawks, who just continue to find new ways to lose games.
Notre Dame 28, Virginia Tech 14
I honestly don’t know what to expect this weekend. I’ve only predicted 2 correct scores this season and been extremely wrong about the other 3 games. Virginia Tech could take advantage of the crowd and home field or they could totally drop a goose egg because their QB is hurt and their best defender was dismissed. Also, remember when they lost to Old Dominion? Go Irish
Clemson is struggle city now that Trevor Lawrence’s bell has been rung and Kelly Bryant is outtie 500. I’m anticipating a low-scoring game but a Clemson victory. We saw Wake Forest a couple weekends ago. They’re not great.
Notre Dame 34, Virginia Tech 17
Ian Book and the offense seem to have it figured out. Virginia Tech has scored plenty of points so far this season, but Notre Dame is undoubtedly the best defense that they have faced so far this season. For that reason, I think that the Irish will keep Steven Peoples and company in check.
There’s a definite pattern emerging in Oregon State games this year. The offense has the ability to put up yards and points, mostly due to freshman phenom running back Jermar Jefferson. The problem is that the defense hasn’t had much luck defending the run, which is why they are 1-4. Mike Leach will find a way to put up enough points and get the distance between his team and the Beavs to get another win.
Notre Dame 38, Virginia Tech 0
”We’re going to embarrass you. We’re going to come in here and we’re going to make people remember — not the statue but — when we beat you guys 38 to zip.” - Ian Williams, who played NT/DT for Notre Dame from 2007-2010, on Wednesday’s “Pod of Gold” episode. If that score prediction is good enough for Ian, it’s good enough for me.
Washington Huskies 45, UCLA Bruins 11
Bill Connelly had a good article today about why the Bruins are so bad. First-year coaches -- especially those with $9 million buyouts -- are going to be given a chance to burn it down and start it all over. This is UCLA’s mulligan year, although we couldn’t have collectively predicted that before the season began. We also couldn’t have known that the Colorado Buffaloes and Cincinnati Bearcats -- two foes who UCLA have already lost to -- would overachieve relative to our collective wisdom preseason. So the Bruins are going to get lit up at home by the 10th ranked Huskies, but in two weeks that have a decent shot to beat the Arizona Wildcats if the wheels haven’t come off in any new way.
Notre Dame 38, Virginia Tech 20
I know Lane Stadium is supposed to be rowdy. But VA Tech stinks. They’re talent level has dropped so much from last year and Notre Dame is on a roll. Unless something drastic changes, Irish win big.
I was wrong the last week about Toledo. I knew the offense would travel but wow did the defense come up way short. Anyway, they get rival BG this Saturday. And they’re not good. The Rocket offense rolls to win the Battle of I-75.
Notre Dame 31, Virginia Tech 17
This one is hard to predict because it depends on which Virginia Tech team shows up. If it’s the Tech that lost to Old Dominion this game will be over in the first half. If it’s the Tech that beat Duke last week this game could be pretty close. I think this one stays pretty close into the third quarter before the Irish defense becomes too much and the offense begins to pull away.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 38, Texas State Bobcats 35
Both Louisiana Lafayette and Texas State come into this game 0-1 in conference and 1-3 overall. Two of ULL’s losses though have been on the road to ranked (at the time) SEC teams. Expect a good old fashioned Fun Belt shootout and the Ragin’ Cajuns to hold on in the end.
Notre Dame 49, Virginia Tech 24
Notre Dame travels to Blacksburg with a 5-0 record to face a Hokie team that has one loss; but that one loss was a disappointing one to Old Dominion. Virginia Tech isn’t going to be easy on the road, but I think Notre Dame is more than prepared to face the Hokies, and will yet again dominate their opponent. The Irish are firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball, as well as on special teams, and will have another superior performance this Saturday against the Hokies. Go Irish!
I feel really bad for Arkansas this week. They lost to a North Texas team that everyone thought they would beat (on family weekend no less), hung tough with Auburn until the second half when all heck broke lose, and then only lost to Texas A&M by 7 ... but this week Alabama comes to town. As much as I’d like to spin some fairy tale of how Arkansas is going to rise from the ashes to beat Alabama, it’s not going to happen this week. Enjoy the tailgate because the game is going to be rough. Can we just fast forward to Ole Miss? Woo Pig!
Notre Dame 31, Virginia Tech 13
I’m changing my pick from yesterday. Previously I had the Irish winning 31-20, but I am having a hard time imagining the Hokies scoring that much against this Irish defense. If they do, it’s because of a special teams TD or a defensive TD — and then all bets are off. Notre Dame won’t have the 500 yards of offense this week, but a steady 400 (or so) as they chip away all night at the Hokies and their crowd.
Wyoming Cowboys 24, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 30
The Cowboys can’t score and Hawaii scores a lot. The trip to the islands is never easy and a game the game will kick off sometime after midnight eastern time. The rough season continues for Wyoming.