Well, it’s time for the One Foot Down staff to break out those wonderful bags of runes I sent them for Christmas and make some damn picks. 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 Utah Utes on the side, or the Houston Cougars, or the Nebraska Cornhuskers — whoever. Join in and expand your love of Notre Dame Football into college football as a whole.
Here we go...
Notre Dame 35 Michigan Wolverines 24
I’m predicting a higher score than most people. Defenses will show up strong, but I say the Irish end up being too much on offense for Jimmy Khakis and his team to handle.
Central Michigan Chippewas 45 Kentucky Wildcats 42
I have no idea really what the teams bring to the table. I’m predicting little defense, and the Chips shock the world by beating an SEC team on the road. It’s a homer pick for sure.
Notre Dame 20 Michigan Wolverines 24
My Notre Dame prediction is that I honestly don’t know what is going to happen in this game we’ve all been talking about for nearly nine months. My concerns are twofold: I’m worried about Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich causing havoc with the Notre Dame offensive line, and rushing Brandon Wimbush into bad decisions. I’m also worried terribly about this running game. If little or nothing can be generated via the run, that puts increasing pressure exactly where we don’t want it -- on Wimbush’s arm.
Clemson Tigers 62 Furman Paladins 6
The Clemson Tigers are everyone’s favorites to win the ACC Atlantic and ACC Championship. They’re a playoff team pick for most pundits in the know and more than a few say Clemson’s scary-as-hell defensive line and offensive firepower are unrivaled. They’re Clemson, so I’m putting them down for one inexplicably stupid loss this year (the Boston College Eagles on Nov. 10, perhaps?). But their opener is one of those blazin’ hot early Saturday games at home against the Furman Paladins of the Football Championship Subdivision’s Southern Conference. The Paladins actually beat the Tigers...in 1936. Those knights are too chivalrous (read: not talented enough) to break that ignominious streak. I’ve got Clemson in a rout.
Notre Dame 27 Michigan Wolverines 10
The general consensus from what I’ve observed is that Michigan’s question marks are more likely to end up being advantages for the Wolverines over Notre Dame than not. That includes the quarterback position; many people are assuming that the Michigan Wide receivers (even without Tariq Black) will be as open as they were last year, and transfer Shea Patterson will actually be able to throw them a pass. People are also assuming the addition of Ed Warinner as O-line coach means Michigan’s line will improve greatly, thus making their offense good. I don’t buy it. Notre Dame’s secondary is very good, the D-line is deep, and the offense should be able to run the ball. Not to mention, it’s a night game in Notre Dame stadium. Those don’t go well for Michigan.
Miami-Ohio RedHawks 31 Marshall Thundering Herd 21
I’m also going to focus on the Miami RedHawks as my second team this year. Last year, the RedHawks posted a disappointing 5-7 campaign. In my mind, this year is Chuck Martin’s last chance to post a winning season with the RedHawks before his turnaround attempt is deemed a failure. The RedHawks host the Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday in a rivalry game that dates back to the great MAC showdowns featuring guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich. The Herd has high expectations this year after going 8-5 last year and winning the New Mexico Bowl. I think the RedHawks finally turn the corner and open the season with an upset.
Notre Dame 24 Michigan Wolverines 17
Last year I picked Georgia over ND, and was mercilessly mocked by former classmates over it for days leading up to the game — even though I was right. This year I am picking Notre Dame to win every game. Unless we roll into FSU weekend with a losing record, and then I’ll probably pick them. Being so smart and right about everything isn’t worth it when you get yelled at by your friends.
UCLA Bruins 31 Cincinnati Bearcats 17
There is a coach named Kelly coaching FBS football, who just had a boatload of players suspended right before the season started…and it isn’t Brian. Chip Kelly is back to coach UCLA this season, and even though his starting quarterback Wilson Speight is a meh transfer from Michigan, the Bruins will defeat Cincinnati.
Notre Dame 23 Michigan Wolverines 18
This should be — as we all expect — a tightly contested game. Nearly all position groups match up pretty evenly, making for a game that looks to be more or less a coin flip. The Irish have one advantage here, though, and that’s the fact that they’ve beaten ranked road teams recently while Michigan hasn’t; that will end up being the difference in this game.
Washington Huskies 33 Auburn Tigers 24
Washington returns the star duo of Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin to an offense that was ridiculously potent last year, and have an incredibly deep and talented defense once again. Auburn will prove to be a tough matchup with the amount of talent they’ve recruited, but Washington is well coached and experienced. The Huskies should take this big-time week one matchup.
Notre Dame 23 Michigan Wolverines 24
I will be making all of my picks this year by combining Sagarin ratings and Vegas over/unders. Sagarin predicts Michigan as a .04, yes a point four, point favorite after the Irish get a 2.36 home field advantage adder.... in other words, so close that even Gary Gray doesn’t see it coming (ducks). With the O/U of 47, my formula says Michigan 24, Notre Dame 23.
Navy Midshipmen 44 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 18
I choose Navy as my “2nd team” to track this year because obviously anybody that listens to the OFD Podcast knows that I am a triple-option connoisseur and a Ken Niumatalolo fan-boi. Sagarin favors Navy by 18.47 points and Vegas gives an O/U of 62. How will Hawaii only score 18 points after dropping 43 already this season on an FBS school? It’s the triple-option dummy... they’ll be lucky to have 2 possessions in the second half.
Notre Dame 31 Michigan Wolverines 24
Though the game highlights 2 great defenses (allegedly), I think this will be a higher-scoring game than people think, and will be a one possession game heading into the stretch. I like our defense to force some turnover late in the game, allowing us to pull ahead + a field goal to close it out.
Holy Cross Crusaders 31 Colgate Raiders 20
Led by new head Coach Bob Chesney, Holy Cross will come out hot to start off Patriot league play. They look to have an easy matchup the following week taking on the sallies over at Boston College.
Notre Dame 24 Michigan Wolverines 21
The first game of the season is always a tough one as no one really knows what they’ve got. Opening the season against Michigan is going to be no easy task for the Fighting Irish, but as we’ve seen in the past, cupcakes aren’t always a walk in the park either. I think the guys are ready, will come out all cylinders firing, and after four hard-fought quarters will come out on top, but just barely.
Arkansas Razorbacks 31 Eastern Illinois Panthers 7
Arkansas, on the other hand, is easing their new coaching in with a home opener matchup against Eastern Illinois. Rebuilding season and all, I think the Razorbacks will have no problem handling the Panthers with ease.
Notre Dame 27 Michigan Wolverines 20
The Irish get off to an early lead with the help of the running game. The defense then takes over to seal the deal in a game that comes down to the final drive.
Toledo Rockets 50 VMI Keydets 7
The rockets are a huge favorite in the season opener and I see a blowout in store. It is the only game Toledo plays before the showdown with Miami. Perfect tuneup game to prepare.
Notre Dame 28 Michigan Wolverines 24
Rashan Gary and Devin Bush are really good, and everyone in the country knows it. Julian Love, Te’von Coney, and Jerry Tillery are also really good, and after Saturday night, everyone is also gonna know that. I think Brandon Wimbush plays surprisingly well — not spectacularly, mind you — but I think he has a pretty damn good game against a really good defense. Meanwhile, Clark Lea’s Irish defense will pick up where Mike Elko’s squad left off against LSU, and the Irish pull out a huge win to start off the 2018 season.
Florida Atlantic Owls 49 Oklahoma Sooners 42
The odds of this actually happening are fairly slim, but did you really think I was going to choose Joey Freshwater and his FAU Owls as my second team for Staff Picks only to NOT pick them to upset Oklahoma in Week 1? De’Andre Johnson is gonna have himself a GAME in this one, folks. Fly, owls, fly.
Notre Dame 31 Michigan Wolverines 21
I’m taking ND in this one 31-21. While Michigan has played really well in their last few season openers, I’m confident in Notre Dame’s offensive capabilities. Hopefully playing this game in South Bend under the lights provides them with a little extra spark as well.
Oregon State Beavers 10 Ohio State Buckeyes 45
I think Beaver football will move in a positive direction under Jonathan Smith, but this game isn’t going to show it. Despite what’s going on with the coaching situation in Columbus, Ohio State is just a vastly more talented team and several of Oregon State’s best players are missing the first few weeks with injuries. Buckeyes win this one 45-10.
Notre Dame 14 Michigan Wolverines 13
I was prepared to give the edge to Michigan coming into this one, after finding out about the loss of Dexter Williams, Jr. Now though, the Wolverines are the ones who seem to have bigger personnel concerns. I don’t see Jim Harbaugh’s team, now without Tarik Black, putting up enough points on the road in inclement weather against an experienced Irish defense. Irish win it in a close one.
Eastern Michigan Eagles 34 Monmouth Hawks 3
Coming off a season where they had their first bowl appearance since 1987, the Eastern Michigan Eagles just failed to go bowling for the second straight season. Little known fact: all but one of the Eagles’ losses last season came by one possession. This season, they’ll miss last year’s starting QB, Brogan Robak, who became the star of Hard Knocks on HBO, but luckily they won’t be tested too tough as they welcome the Monmouth Hawks from the FCS to Rynearson Stadium under the Friday night lights.
Notre Dame 23 Michigan Wolverines 13
I have no delusions about this game. This will not be a repeat of 2014, and rather than celebrating for most of the game — Irish fans are going to get an early dose of “HOLD ME I’M IRISH!” It’s going to be a close game, and despite all the talk about Brandon Wimbush vs. the Michigan defense, and Shea Patterson being crowned a Heisman candidate despite doing nothing that would suggest even a game MVP... this comes down to our favorite thing: SPECIAL TEAMS. I believe the Irish hold an edge with special teams, and that’s why they win.
Wyoming Cowboys 41 Washington State Cougars 38
The Cowboys are home underdogs, and going up against a Pac-12 “fun team.” The fun comes to an end for the Cougars as the 1-0 Cowboys score enough points to help Hicksville Ohio’s Garrett Crall on defense to win this game. Go Aces!