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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fighting Irish 2011 Season Predictions

Last year we were very fortunate in having Anastasia Kushchenko (the Russian wanta-be-spy Anna Chapman) as our guest prognosticator.  Anna hit the nail pretty close to the head with her 8-4 prediction/analysis/guessing.  She was close on her numbers but way off on picking the wins and losses.  Check it out here.  Well Anastasia is not available this year.  Her modeling, acting and social life has her way too busy to take the Red Line to Subway Alumni Station for an interview.  What a party girl though.

Anyhow, after some due diligent research we have contacted the perfect guest analyzer.  Someone who knows numbers, can play the odds, speak out of the side of his mouth, expects big returns on his analysis and is readily available with plenty of time on his hands.

Bernie Madoff!  Although no fan of Notre Dame, Mr. Madoff graciously consented to an interview and provided the following detailed scrutiny of the 2011 schedule.  Very similiar to how he reads the stock page (or used to). 
2011 Notre Dame Football Schedule:

S10 @ Michigan 8pm ABC/ESPN
S24 @ Pittsburgh
O01 @ Purdue 8pm ABC/ESPN
O08 AIR FORCE 3:30pm NBC
O29 NAVY 3:30pm NBC
N05 @ Wake Forest
N12 MARYLAND (FedEx) 7:30pm NBC
N26 @ Stanford 8pm ABC/ESPN
Here are Mr. Madoff's predictions in their unedited entirety:

Well first of all thank you for this break in my dull routine.  Picking football game wins and losses is pretty much like picking stocks, it’s a crapshoot. 
You look at your schedule, adversary schedules, how they finished last year, who do they have coming back, any coaching changes and the intangibles.  Of course, you look at your team the same way and try to predict areas of improvement or worrisome weak spots.  This is really tough work before the first kickoff.  The preseason polls are pretty much like mutual fund reports, a lot of hot air.  

Here are two intangibles that come into play went looking whether or not “Team A” can beat Team B” that cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty.

INJURIES.  Notre Dame had more than their fair share last year.  Dayne Crist healthy against Michigan?  Dayne Crist not going down against Tulsa?  Losing Armondo Allen, Kyle Rudolph, Theo Riddick, Michael Floyd for parts of the season are just a few examples on the offensive skill position side of the ball.  Notre Dame suffered through the loss of key skill players all year, either injuried or hobbled.

TANKING.  A team gets upset and throws in the towel for the rest of the year because now a conference championship, BCS or high tier bowl game is out of the question and the only concern now on the team is not getting hurt.  Notre Dame was a great example of how NOT to Tank after losses to Navy and Tulsa.  You just can’t predict that kind of stuff.

I see Notre Dame going 10 and 2.  If they don’t get a BCS Bowl, then it’s some minor crappy bowl because of all the money, advertisers, conferences, networks have locked up everything else.  Kind of like a monopoly, cornering a stock or commodity in the market or a Trust in the old days of the Stock Market.
South Florida – If this game were being played at South Florida, I would call it a toss-up.  At Notre Dame, opening game, home crowd, student body in those new blue alumni T-shirts, I have to go with the Irish.  Skip Holtz and his old man scare me to death.  Yeah, I read the excellent SAS post, (Here) and could not agree more.  The outcome of this game will be the bell weather for the rest of the season.  The Irish have to take it seriously and be ready for anything, this is the most important game of Skip Holtz’s career.  I like what I see with the Irish coming into this game; they will either blow USF out of the stadium or settle down into a contest of coaches wits and a close score.  Calling it a Notre Dame WIN.
Michigan – God I hate this team and I know you do too.  The last two years Notre Dame has snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory.  I don’t like playing in front of 112,000 drunken moronic Skunkbear fans that have had all day to liquor up for the first night game in Michigan’s history.  Throw in stupid old uniforms, Denard Robinson, and finally a decent coach in Brady Hoke and I smell another close loss.  Sadly calling it a Notre Dame LOSS.
Michigan State – Why Notre Dame continues year after year to play tough Michigan schools back-to- back in the beginning of the year while everyone else schedules cupcakes is beyond me.  MSU will have played mighty Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic before coming to Notre Dame Stadium, two great warm-ups.  Mark Dantonio is one of the most underrated head coaches in football.  Expect him to move on in a few years, just like Nick Saban.  Except for two Irish defenders tripping over there own feet, the Irish should have beaten Sparty last year.  I smell REVENGE and it will be sweet.  Notre Dame WIN.
Pittsburgh – New coach and rebuilding year.  I just can’t see Pitt matching up against the Irish.  They play us tough, if there are no injuries to contend with or bone head coaching errors, I got to call this a Notre Dame WIN.  Am I missing something here?
Purdue -  I hate playing perennial bottom dwelling teams who once had glory and honor in winning.  I can’t see Notre Dame losing, Give them a WIN.  Nuff said.
Air Force – Air Force always plays us tough.  Just ask Charlie Weis and his overtime loss to the Falcons.  All of the Military Academies don’t understand the term 'underdog', losing, or think they should roll over and play dead when playing the Irish.  What?  Do the Falcons have the dreaded option?  Mnnn.  I smell trouble.  The Notre Dame defense will be put to the test on this one though.  Still I’m going with a Notre Dame WIN.
Southern Cal – We should have beaten them like a base drum last year.  Some crappy interceptions thrown by Tommy Rees kept us from blowing USC  out into the Pacific.  Of course U$C brings their band every time.  At least Notre Dame makes them sit on the field and not take up precious seating.  Man I hate that ditty – Fight-On tune they have to perform after every play.  The rule should be they can only come once every other visit since the ND Band does not travel to LA that often.  Of course they can surely bring the women of Troy every time they come to South Bend.  Check them out here.  Notre Dame is going to be the favorite and they are going to get upset.  This is a Notre Dame LOSS.
Navy – Notre Dame had it’s head handed to them on a platter last year 35-17).  Their was no defensive game plan against the Middies and the Option, then Navy threw some offensive wrinkles in that Notre Dame had never seen before and it was a terrible disaster.  The Irish could not stop TB Alexander Teich, he gained 210 yards, usually in ten yard pops.  QB Ricky Dobbs got his normal 92 yards and it always seemed to be at the wrong time.  The good news is that both those guys are steering ships somewhere, the bad news is that Navy still runs the Option and continues to employ cut-blocking.  Here is everything you need to know about cut-blocking.  Anyway, again I smell REVENGE and a Notre Dame victory.  Notre Dame WIN.
Wake Forest – What the..?  Notre Dame WIN.      
Maryland -  This is suppose to be a home game for the Irish, yet they are playing at FedEx Field, 20 miles from the Maryland Campus.  Go figure.  Who schedules this stuff?  Just like the Panthers, the Terrapins had a head coaching flap last year, I can’t see a Notre Dame loss here unless they fail to show up.  Notre Dame WIN.
Boston College – This is the second year of a rebuilding plan for this other Catholic school.  It will be closer than folks think, but still a Notre Dame  WIN.
Stanford – Thank goodness Jim Harbaugh is gone (read about him here) unfortunately QB Andrew Luck came back to get his degree and will try and win the Heisman.  He definitely has an H on the front of his jersey and a huge bulls-eye target on his back.  If he is still healthy by the time Notre Dame rolls into Tree Hugger U watch out.  This is a tough one to call.  New head coach and defensive coordinator, with 6 starters on offense and 5 on defense returning.  Home game for them.  The Cardinal lost two top wide receivers, three offensive linemen, top defensive lineman. top linebacker and top corner.  The real question is which band is worse, USC's or Stanford's?  This game would be a lot easier to predict on Friday November 25 than this preseason crapshoot.  The intangibles could come into play for either team.  Notre Dame has depth and Standford does not.  Notre Dame WIN (but very close) 

So their you have it.  Sorry about Michigan and USC, I just don't see Notre Dame winning the big games. 

Editors Note: Personally we here at SAS think Notre Dame will beat both Michigan and USC but lose a game they shouldn't.  Stanford is a very tough call.

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