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Notre Dame Football: The Vanderbilt Hangover

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Perspective and how Notre Dame will go 12-0 (kind of).

Jerry Tillery & Julian Okwara
Mike Miller/One Foot Down

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 3-0 after beating the Vanderbilt Commodores 22-17. It was another frustrating game for Irish fans as the expectation was “an easy win.” Actually... a lot of fans were peeing their pants with worry before the game, so winning close shouldn’t have been much of an issue with them (but spoiler: it was).

What’s truly frustrating is that we still have no idea how good or bad this team really is with a quarter of the season done. They’re not great, so that cause issues.

This is an attempt to give you fair warning...

Notre Dame still has a great chance of going undefeated. This isn’t a prediction.

WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Stanford Cardinal

One of the teams people point to as that first loss for the Irish is Stanford. Why? What has Stanford done this season that’s so great? They beat the USC Trojans, but Texas just beat the crap out of them tonight too. They beat San Diego St and UC Davis. OH MY GOD THAT’S IMPRESSIVE! (No, not really).

Virginia Tech Hokies

Everyone freaked out when Tech beat Florida State to start the season. Like.. that was AMAZING. But then Florida State almost lost to StaMford, and then lost to Syracuse today. Virginia Tech’s other win... William & Mary. Look, I realize that playing in Blacksburgh is a tough draw, but the same problems we thought Virginia Tech was going to have this year with defensive depth will still be there in a few weeks. As of right now, nothing they have done should scare anyone

Jafar Armstrong
Mike Miller/One Foot Down

REALITY CHECK

Notre Dame has their own issues and we are all aware of what they are. Who have they beaten? The Michigan Wolverines have looked pretty good since week one, but that’s against lesser competition, so Notre Dame’s best win is still wrapped in mystery as well.

Notre Dame’s schedule is still tough — even if the teams aren’t as good as we thought they’s be. November still exists, and until the Irish prove otherwise, their November issues still exist.

A game against Northwestern once looked tough, but the Wildcats losing to Akron today and Duke the week before says otherwise. Traveling across the country to play Navy still looks rough, and I’m a little worried about Syracuse in Yankee Stadium.

IT’S ALL DEBATABLE

The realest thing here is that Notre Dame doesn’t play Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, or Oklahoma during the regular season. They don’t have to play any school that’s looked like a true power so far, and so there is still reason to believe that Notre Dame can run the table. There are no dominant teams outside of those five.

Ridiculous — I know. But being undefeated after playing a couple of games (wins) that were underwhelming makes it a very serious possibility the Irish can go 12-0. Even IF they don’t, winning 10 or 11 games just got better odds too.

Te’von Coney
Mike Miller/One Foot Down

SMILE MY FRIENDS

We are one week away from the return of Dexter Williams. The offense is missing some explosion, and he certainly has that in his tool belt. Perhaps a lot of the weirdness that the offense is going through is the lack of big plays made from pure speed creating something out of nothing?

Perhaps. A fresh Dexter Williams in week five could be the silver bullet here, and then other things start to fall in line (like play-calling).

I’m not exactly predicting 12-0, but I can make a strong case (or strong enough) that they can and will beat the next 9 opponents on the schedule. (Just remembered I’m overlooking Pitt per usual).

As long as this is the case, I’m not going to go all in on the devastation train. I’m not even all in on the glory train — I just think there is a better than being discussed chance that they do. It doesn’t mean that they are a really good team either, and would most likely get HANDLED by the teams in the top five, but that’s a worry for another day.

My gin glass is empty. 3-0 with a chance. Might as well roll with it.

dexter williams notre dame
“Almost that time.” - Dexter Williams
Mike Miller/One Foot Down