Notre Dame Win Total Prediction
For just the second time since 1989, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish earned 12 wins last season. Can Notre Dame put up another double-digit win season in 2019?
Brian Kelly is entering his 10th season as head coach of the Fighting Irish. He led ND to a 12-0 record in the regular season, only to lose to Clemson in the playoff semifinals. Over his run with the Irish, Kelly has produced four 10-win seasons, but only three have seen at least 10 wins in the regular season. According to oddsmakers, Notre Dame is listed with an over/under of 9.5 wins during the regular season in 2019. The over is listed at +115, while the under is listed at -135.
Notre Dame was an adequate offense last season, ranking in the top third of the nation. The Irish averaged 31.4 points and 440.4 yards per game a year ago and they return seven starters on offense. Ian Book returns under center for ND this year. He threw for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns with seven interceptions last year. He also rushed for 280 yards and four scores. He returns a pair of capable receivers in Chase Claypool and Chris Finke, who combined for 99 receptions for 1,210 yards. In the backfield, ND has to replace leading rusher Dexter Williams, but the Irish seem to have a lot of capable options, including Jafar Armstrong, who rushed for seven touchdowns last year. Helping the offense is the fact that four starters are back on the offensive line.
The Notre Dame defense was in the upper tier of the nation a year ago, allowing just 18.2 points and 347.4 yards per game. The unit has six starters back this year. They do lose leading tackler Te’von Coney and Jerry Tillery, who had eight sacks in 2018. However, Julian Okwara is back after also picking up eight sacks a year ago. Alohi Gilman is back at safety after picking up 94 sacks and two interceptions. Jalen Elliott is another returning safety that had four interceptions a year ago.
With no conference affiliation, Notre Dame is always going to have a pretty competitive schedule. This year is no different. The Irish will host New Mexico, Virginia, Bowling Green, USC, Virginia Tech, Navy and Boston College. They will make road trips to Louisville, Georgia, Michigan, Duke and Stanford.
The road schedule is pretty difficult for Notre Dame this year. Georgia, Michigan and Stanford are no joke and Duke and Louisville can be tough road games. There will also be a few challenging home games along the way. I just don’t see the consistency from Notre Dame to get to 10 wins again. While last year was great, a lot of things needed to happen to go 12-0. After their last 12-win regular season, the Irish were 8-4 in their next regular season. I think this year will see another drop back this season.
College Football Prediction: Notre Dame Under 9.5 Wins -135