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2011 Notre Dame Football Preview with Predictions Picks and Schedule
After suffering through a few sub par seasons under Charlie Wies, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish look to be headed in the right direction as coach Brian Kelly enters his 2nd season. The Irish went 3-9, 7-6 and 6-6 in Weis' last 3 years before Kelly took over last year and guided Notre Dame to an 8-5 year that saw them beat #15 Utah and knock off USC and then Miami in the Bowl game. Stanford was the only team to manhandle the Irish last year. They were competitive in all of their other losses.
Expectations are always high at Notre Dame but perhaps they are a tad higher this year as the ream returns the bulk of last year's team with 8 or 9 returning starters on each side of the ball including two QB's with playing experience in Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees. With a year of experience now under the belts of many of the offensive players, and a coach in Kelly known for offense, you can count on the Irish improving their numbers on that side of the ball. Last season this was an offense that was pretty much middle of the pack when looking at the national picture as they ranked 61st in total offense.
The same holds true defensively. Another year under the belts of many key defensive starters and this to a defense that was already pretty good. Last year they gave up[ on average 20 points per game which was good enough for 23rd in points against and 50th in total defense. A nice improvement considering the defense was pathetic under Weis.
When you take a look at the Notre Dame schedule for 2011 and go game by game, there really isn't one single game on the schedule that jumps out as impossible to win. Do we think the Fighting Irish will win every game? No. But every game on the dance card is a winnable one. There are no cupcakes on the schedule and most of their 2011 opponents are of equal talent. Which means while every game is winnable, they are also potential losses. One thing you can bank on is quite a few exciting finishes to Notre Dame games in 2011 as several are likely to be decided in the final minutes.
From a betting standpoint, Notre Dame will get the chance to avenge 4 of their 5 losses. The only team they lost to last year that they don't play this year is Tulsa. That leaves Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and Navy on the hit list with Michigan State and Navy being at home.
The Irish should be able to duplicate last year's 8 wins. Anything past that is going to come down to winning those exciting games decided in the last two minutes. Getting a bounce here and there, having things go their way. You might say that all that stands between 8 wins and 10+ wins is "The luck of the Irish".
Worth checking out - Betfirms Notre Dame Preview
2011 Notre Dame Football Schedule
9-3-11 SOUTH FLORIDA
9-10-11 at Michigan
9-17-11 MICHIGAN STATE
9-24-11 at Pittsburgh
10-1-11 at Purdue
10-8-11 AIR FORCE
10-22-11 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
11-5-11 at Wake Forest
11-12-11 Maryland @Landover, MD
11-19-11 BOSTON COLLEGE
11-26-11 at Stanford
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