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Notre Dame Football Preview - Odds - Predictions
2009 Season - Also includes Army Navy Previews!
As we continue with our College Football Conference Previews, we take a look at the Independents, which generally means, we take a look at the star of the bunch, The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Charlie Weis and company had their backs against the wall last year as they attempted to rebound from a horrific 3-9 season in 2007. Rebound they did, as Charlie Weis bought himself some more time with a 7-6 showing. But anything less than that this year puts Weis right back on the hot seat. Notre Dame is loaded with returning starters so there will be no excuse for mediocrity, especially with their less than challenging schedule. It's 8+ wins or bust for Notre Dame this year. As a matter of fact, top sportsbooks list the over/under on total season wins for Notre Dame at 9, and the action thus far is on the under. So let's dig in and take a look at the 2009 Notre Dame Fighting Irish along with the other two Independents, the Service Academies, Army and Navy.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Notre Dame is listed at Odds of 20/1 to win The National Championship this year at Sportsbook.com. Charlie Weis finally has things going in the right direction for a team that finished 2008 with a record of 7-6 and a dominating victory in the Hawaii Bowl. The offense returns 10 members of last year’s team. QB Jimmy “Santa” Clausen is coming off a career best performance in the Hawaii Bowl where he went 22 for 26 and threw 5 TD passes. The junior holds the keys to this team, and if he plays well then the Fighting Irish will be better than they have been in many years. WR Golden Tate also came to life in the Hawaii Bowl, catching 3 TD passes for 177 total yards. He will be back for an encore performance this year. Michael Floyd at WR and TE Kyle Rudolph will also be good weapons for Claussen. Notre Dame has a stable of RBs including Armando Allen who gained 585 yards and 3 TDs in 2008. Robert Hughes and James Aldridge will also be tough. The running game should improve thanks to an experienced offensive line. On the whole, the offense is solid. The defense brings back 6 starters from 2008. They should be able to bring plenty of pressure. The secondary is solid with Kyle McCarthy, Harrison Smith, and Raeshon McNeil. Brian Smith is tough at LB, and can play both inside and outside. The schedule is favorable for the Fighting Irish. They have Michigan State and Boston College at home. Their biggest challenge will be a home game against USC. Look for Notre Dame Stadium to be filled to its 80,795 capacity as this team could be destined for big things.
Navy Midshipmen - Coach Ken Niumatalolo did a good job with the Midshipmen last year. They finished the season with a record of 8-5 and an appearance in the EagleBank Bowl. Things won’t get easier for them this year. The offense brings back just 4 starters, but has a budding star in QB Ricky Dobbs. He didn’t start last year, but still racked up 495 rushing yards and had 8 TDs. He will do a great job throwing the ball, but he is also a threat to scramble for big yards. Navy fans are very high on his chances to be a star. The junior will have two years leading the offense to prove himself. Coaches want to throw downfield more often, but Navy is replacing all of their WRs from last season. The defense brings back 7 starters. They allowed 22 points per game last season and should be better this year. NG Nate Frazier can take on double teams and led Navy last year with 9 tackles for a loss. Wyatt Middleton will play Safety and is one of the best players on the defense. Navy has to play 8 teams who were in a Bowl game last year. They have their work cut out for them, but are a solid team nonetheless.
Army Black Knights - After a dismal 3-9 season, Army has installed Rich Ellerson as the new head coach. Ellerson did well at Cal Poly and has an overall record of 60-41. The offense brings back only 3 starters and will be led by QB Chip Bowden. The junior will have to play well or he could lose his job to Max Jenkins. Bowden led the team in rushing last year, but SB Patrick Mealy will do plenty of damage this year. He was limited to 18 carries last year due to injury, but should be a stellar runner this season. WR Ali Villanueva is monstrous at 6’ 10” and 283 pounds. The Black Knights will be using him to do plenty of blocking, but he could be a great red zone threat. The defense brings back 7 members of last year’s team. They will be changing from a 4-3 to a double eagle flex. Amy has a good defense, but must do a better job of forcing turnovers. Hiring Ellerson is a step in the right direction. Army fans should hope for five or six wins.
Check out all of our 2009 College Football Conference Previews!