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The Data Preview: Notre Dame VS Navy in Dublin, Ireland

A data preview lite of Notre Dame’s 2023 Week 1 matchup against Navy in Dublin, Ireland.

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - Notre Dame v South Carolina Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

We’re finally here.

The opening kickoff of the 2023 Notre Dame football season is upon us and I for one couldn’t be more excited. This offseason provided a bunch of things to write and talk about, especially from a numbers’ perspective. But I’d be a bold-faced liar if I said that any of it was particularly satisfying.

There’s an energy and emotional investment that comes from being in the thick of the season that’s a drug like no other and one that I’m unashamedly addicted to. In general, my problem got started with the Friday night lights of big-time high school in Southeast Louisiana. Things intensified when I got into the house that Rockne built and it has kind of been off the rails (pun intended).

And regardless of how the season turns out for the Irish, I’ll still be nourished.

The Navy game is first up on the journey. There’s been a ton of coverage leading up to this game and technically this is the data preview for the now pretty controversial matchup/series. This is only my second season doing these for One Foot Down but I’ll honestly say that the idea of a serious, data preview for two teams in Week 1 is kind of crazy. Especially in the situation where we find ourselves with two teams that have undergone significant makeovers in the offseason. The serious data preview lies mostly in putting together historical context which hats off to my fellow OFD writers, we’ve done the best job in the Notre Dame blogosphere of curating.

Data Preview (Sort Of)

So this Week 1 data preview is dedicated a bit more to analyzing and adding some context around rosters heading into the Notre Dame-Navy matchup in Dublin. Geography and distance play a big factor in the game and the larger landscape.

On the one hand, there’s the jet lag factor on the players and just the general sense of the vast majority of players from both sides having no experience (especially playing) in Ireland. On the other hand, travel times and their effects on student athletes across the college spectrum are becoming more of an “It” topic as football pushes the system into a conference realignment direction that more and more of us are now asking Why about.

Let’s do a little digging into the towns that the Notre Dame and Navy roster members hail from. The distribution of the home states and towns speak a lot to the unique characteristics of each program that makes the series special (even if not from a business-football perspective).

Notre Dame Focus

A big part of Notre Dame’s success, especially in the modern era, is that we can find fertile recruiting grounds nation, as well as two present players who hail from Ontario and Quebec. There are a lot more individual dots because while we may play prominently in some states, shared hometowns on the roster are pretty rare.

Navy Focus

Navy, being a service academy is also very special when it comes to recruiting and filling out rosters. There are the college football specific factors that are way out of my depth (i.e. dead periods, junior contracts etc.). One of the most intriguing factors has nothing to do with football and is tied to the application, nomination and screening processes that the academies require. Th Naval Academy has historically been the most selective in terms of student athlete recruiting classes. General admission standards vary from academy to academy, but a common thread is they are all “potentially” more invested than other programs in students staying the full ride to graduation. When it’s all said in done, academy classes are generally larger than other schools. This is the case for the 2023 roster that the Midshipmen will take into their matchup against the Irish, along with a slightly tighter geographic concentration and more players sharing hometowns.

The Hawai’i players from both teams will be traveling the farthest distance, from their hometown to Dublin. The average distance is around 11,275 kilometers. The Massachusetts players have the shortest distance from their hometowns, around 4,800 kilometers.

Journeys to Dublin

Breakdowns by Region and State

West Region

Southwest Region

Midwest Region

Southeast Region

Northeast Region

Final Thoughts

My gameday prediction is that the Irish will pull out a victory over the Midshipmen. Albeit by a smaller margin than the sportsbooks are projecting, mostly because of the jet lag and the ND offense figuring itself out. I imagine that the we’ll see the defense holding us in the game similar to what we saw (not particularly enjoyed) last season but our offensive upside will make the season gradually much more of a happier viewing experience for us all.

The data review will be back to usual with an even more diabolical mix of:

Getty Images/iStockphoto


Bob Ross [Misc.];Bob Ross Photo by Acey Harper/Getty Images

Cheers and Go Irish!!