ND Football: 2020 Season Preview Part One

Irish fans it’s that time again. Our third annual ND Football prognostication season pick’em series. There are major changes to the Irish schedule. From a schedule that had the season already started to the Irish now playing a packed slate of ACC football teams in order to fill the season schedule. There is also plenty to play for. ND will contend for the ACC Championship as well.

The schedule is not an easy one. The eleven game schedule has plenty of trap games along the way. If there was ever a season in which so much is at stake, the 2020 season will bring a full plate of excitement to it. The mindset of gas on the throttle and little brake, is what this team is going to have go out and do every week. Putting lots of points on the board will be important to get the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee. The first rankings will be presented by the committee on November 17th and final selections to be announced on December 20, 2020. There is a lot to play for in 2020. The key is to be healthy and play every game for sixty minutes.

Week 1/Game 1-9/12: Duke vs Notre Dame

(2:30 PM NBC)

Ben’s Pick

“This game is just a blow out, I think Notre Dame just blasts Duke. The reason I say that is that Duke’s defensive line is the only bright spot. I have the utmost respect for Duke University, their academic standards rival that of Stanford and Notre Dame. It’s hard to recruit when you have high educational standards.”

“Notre Dame has a high powered offense with the wide receivers corp wise is going to show up with Tommy Rees offense. Being the game is at home is what gives ND that advantage to a blow out. There will be a chip on ND’s shoulder to beat Duke considering what happened the last time Duke played at ND.”

Score 56-17 ND

George’s Pick

“Playing an ACC schedule puts pressure on the Irish football team from day one. If ND wants to play for the ACC Championship, it’s a no holds barred win the game on the field and play for sixty minutes every game. The ND defense cannot play down to the Duke’s offense and ND’s offense needs to stay ahead of the Duke defense. There is no playing down to an opponents level this season..”

“Getting to the playoffs means putting big points on the board and holding your opponent to low scoring games. Tommy Rees at the helm as the Offensive Coordinator sets up Ian Book to have some big numbers. All segments of the game must be present.”

Score 43-6 ND

Week 2/Game 2-9/19: USF vs Notre Dame

(2:30 PM USA Network)

Ben’s Pick

“ND will ride the wave of beating Duke, and using the home field advantage to help them once again. Remember like Duke, USF beat ND as well and that’s another loss that should not have happened.”

“If I am the defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator and if I am Brian Kelly I tell them, remember what happened the last time they came to our house? It was despicable, we never should have lost that game, and it shouldn’t have been that close. You go prove to everyone that’s a hater, we are Notre Dame.”

Score 49-0

George’s Pick

“USF at Notre Dame and Charlie Weis Jr comes back to ND, this time with out dad. Tommy Rees needs to dominate in this game on offense. USF on the other hand is not a team to take lightly either. They were dominated by their opponents last season, but that’s the past. USF wants to come into Notre Dame and play the spoiler early. “

“ND once again has to play a solid game and put big points on the board. The need to get better every week and mature as a team needs to be demonstrated. Defense will play big and the offense will rise to the occasion. Everyone needs to their job.”

Score 49-7 ND

Week 3/Game 3-9/26: Notre Dame vs Wake Forest

(Time/Channel TBD)

Ben’s Pick

“Game is moved to campus from Charlotte. First possible hostile environment. Wake Forest will have a chip on their shoulder as they will not forget that ND beat them at their house on that hot, humid day. Wake Forest is a tough team in general, a small, miniature rivalry has developed between the teams, we need to exercise those demons by beating them.”

“The talent the Notre Dame has on offense and defense will be too much for them to handle. Notre Dame just can’t play down to Wake Forest. Notre Dame needs to rely on their experience of their offensive line that’s getting attention there should be no problem. Need to win these conference games period.”

Score 35-17 ND

George’s Pick

“The last time ND played at Duke, Ian Book made his debut for the Irish, and replaced Brandon Wimbush as QB. Book went 25/34 that day. Two years later it’s a completely different situation. Book is a seasoned QB and is a true Captain of this team. Notre Dame offensively and defensively needs to just play the game. WF cannot afford miscues.”

“The defense will have to take care of the young QB in Sam Hartman, Getting to him frequently will put him in hurry up mode. The offensive line will need to make sure Book and the offensive weapons can connect often. Book should not be in this game come the fourth quarter. Wrap the game up early and get the young guys some time.”

Score 42-14 ND

Week Four/Bye-10/3

Week 5/Game 4-10/10: FSU vs Notre Dame

(7:30 PM/NBC)

Ben’s Pick

“FSU only had one road victory last year. It was at BC and they nearly escaped with that win. They are a home winning team, but proved the road was not their strong point. They are an underachieving team, they are a top fifteen recruiting school that last five years. The talent is in their favor. They also do not have a bye week to prepare for ND.”

“Fans in the stadium will plays into ND’s favor and FSU has to play Georgia Tech, Miami, Jacksonville State and then they roll into ND. They could be 1-2 before this game.”

Score 35-0 ND

George’s Pick

“The story in this game is the new Head Coach for FSU, Mike Norvell. He comes to FSU via Memphis. He posted a 12-1 record last season. This game is similar to the Louisville game of last season. New coach, new schemes, and that’s an opposing coaches nightmare. Kelly will have to answer his own question, how do I prepare? ND will be forced to review tape of FSU last season, look at tape from Norvell from Memphis and then plan to play a hybrid team and continue to adjust accordingly. “

“Notre Dame struggled a bit in the same situation last year, but made the proper adjustments and got the win against Satterfield. Same rules apply this year against FSU. There will not be snow at ND this time. ND needs to go out and impose their will against FSU’s offense and defense. Weather could be a factor, rain has not been ND’s friend and they don’t mix well.”

Score 35-17 ND

Photo By Lisa Kelly Shake Down The Thunder Sports

Week 6/Game 5-10/10: Louisville vs Notre Dame

(2:30 PM NBC)

Ben’s Pick

“Louisvile is not affected by the time differential. They played us hard last season and Satterfield had his team ready. Louisville is known as a basketball school and is a football team on the rise in the ACC. They are going to want to come into Notre Dame Stadium and beat them at home. ND should be on upset alert. Louisville cannot be taken lightly.”

Score 35-21 ND

George’s Pick

“Despite their start last season, Louisville ended up with the number four offense in the ACC. This team matured very quickly. Their defense held them back. Scott Satterfield did a tremendous job in turning that situation around. Louisville learned a lot from that loss to ND on the opening game of the season. The Senior class of Louisville wants to give Satterfield that marquee win.”

“Notre Dame will not let Louisville come into their house and let them have their way. It’s another everyone do your job and pay attention to the details game. If ND let’s up a little bit, Louisville will hang around and that could be detrimental.”

Score 48-20 ND

Wrap Up

Well that wraps up the first half. We both have ND at 5-0 after six weeks of play. A couple possible scares along the way, but ND will work through it. But there is no time to relax as the second half of the season opens up against Pittsburgh on the road. There is still plenty of football left after the halfway point with Clemson sitting on the calendar in November.

Notre Dame holds destiny in their hands once again. What they choose to do with it will set their destiny. Play hard nosed football and take care of business is all this team should be thinking about.

Cheers and Go Irish!☘🏈🌩

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