Now that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish only have 1⁄4 of the season left, I think it’s a safe time to evaluate some of things we’ve seen this season. With the Navy Midshipmen next up on the schedule, my mind bends toward the word, “underrated.”
So lets take a power rankings look at the most underrated whatever for the Irish this season. (Remember... these “rankings” aren’t really rankings and no order should be given credence).
1. Bo Bauer
While Bauer’s name was brought up here and there in the spring and summer, he was never a big part of what the linebacker rotation ended up being for the Irish. And none of that matters because he is a god damn hero on special teams.
2. The Michigan Wolverines
This isn’t everyone’s problem, but it was certainly mine. While I still stand on the fact that the Irish didn’t show up and that Michigan was overrated in the preseason — I completely underrated the game itself. You have no idea how hard this is for me to type.
3. Notre Dame dissing the “150” patch
As far as I can tell, every school has been wearing the “150” patch all season long to celebrate 150 years of college football. Notre Dame has not. We do know that the Irish will wear it on their 1988 throwbacks for their game against the Boston College Eagles, but the diss for the rest of the season is actually pretty cool.
4. The Irish linebackers
I suppose we could do 3 different spots here, but I’ll lump Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Drew White, and Asmar Bilal all in one spot because they’ve played as a group. Bilal has been one of the biggest surprises of the season, and Drew White isn’t far behind. The number of words written on this position group from January to September is astounding — mostly because most people were wrong.
5. Notre Dame’s need for 11 wins
The debate about if 11 wins would get the Irish into the college football playoff was talked about quite a bit, but forget about the playoffs for a minute. Most firmly believed a 10-2 record would put the Irish AT LEAST into a New Years 6 bowl game — either the Cotton Bowl or the Orange Bowl. We underrated the amount of teams that would have spectacular starts to the season and clog that path quite a bit.
If I wasn’t clear enough before... Navy is ranked #21 in the country. After a bad season in 2018, there weren’t many on the Navy train — SHIP! Just paying my mutual respect here, and shaking my head that Notre Dame’s only other top 25 win this season was against the Virginia Cavaliers.
7. Autry Denson as a coach
Yes he was a terrible recruiter, and Lance Taylor is already doing a great job there, but the overall lack of production from this unit is still noticeable. I can’t help but think Denson would have got more from the players here. This isn’t buyers remorse as I eagerly await Chris Tyree — just an observation.
8. My loathing of the Notre Dame post game process
Yeah... this is just me bitching, but seriously. Notre Dame changed the way they do post game media access and let me tell you, getting out of the press box at 9 PM for a 2:30 game is a step too far. We live on BK time.
9. Jay Bramblett & Jonathan Doerer
When people talked about Notre Dame’s special teams in the offseason, it generally consisted of, “this unit is going to cause at least one loss and we should all say our prayers nightly.” That hasn’t been the case — not even close. Both Bramblett and Doerer haven’t been perfect, but they’ve been pretty good as first year starters.
10. Ian Book
He’s overrated you say? Sure, he’s underperfomed from what we expected this year, but with him being so much better than the other quarterbacks on the roster, fans underrate him every time they call out for Phil Jurkovec. He remains Notre Dame’s best option at the position, and will most likely come back for another year in 2020, and be the best quarterback on the roster once again.