Notre Dame Wins Prediction
Despite key injuries during the 2015 season, Notre Dame still had a 10-win year. Can the Irish find a way to do it again in 2016?
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, the Irish are listed with an over/under of 9.5 wins for the 2016 regular season. The over is listed with a line of -110, while the under has a line of -120. Notre Dame is also listed with odds of 22/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs.
Brian Kelly is entering his seventh season at Notre Dame this fall. He has went 55-23 in his six years thus far, with two 10-win seasons. Last year, the Irish went 10-3 despite losing their planned starting quarterback during the second game of the year. Now, the team returns both Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer under center. Kizer played most of last season, throwing for 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 520 yards. Zaire had 428 passing yards with four scores and 103 rushing yards in his short period of play. Kelly has not commented on the starting QB plans. Both men seem capable to handle the duties. Kelly has used multiple quarterbacks before during his coaching career.
The Irish also lost Tarean Folson at running back during the season opener against Texas. He will be back this season to help lead the run game. Joining him is Josh Adams, the leading returning rusher, who had 835 yards with six scores in 2015. The backs lose the blocking of Ronnie Stanley, but ND still returns three starters on the offensive line. Defensively, the team lost stud linebacker Jaylon Smith, who was a big part of the run defense. Mix in the loss of a few starters up front, and ND could see some early struggles stopping the ground attack. The pass rush could also take time to develop, which could open up some weaknesses in the secondary that weren’t visible last season.
The schedule is always a challenge for Notre Dame. The season opens up at Texas, which could be more of a test than many think. The Irish will then host Michigan State a few weeks later. The Spartans could still be vulnerable on offense, working in a new QB, so the Irish have to win that game. With neutral-site games against Navy, Army and Syracuse, the only real road tests are at USC and N.C. State. The Irish do host Stanford and Miami, as well as Duke and Virginia Tech. There isn’t a lot of room for error to get to 10 wins for the Irish. It’s hard to say if this team is going to be able to be special. The pieces are there, but the Irish have struggled with better talent. History says Kelly won’t get back-to-back 10-win seasons in South Bend.
2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL WIN TOTAL PICK: NOTRE DAME UNDER 9.5 (-120)