It took Brian Kelly three seasons, but he returned Notre Dame football to national prominence last year, in terms of product on the field, as the team posted a 12-0 regular season record. The Fighting Irish also earned a spot in the BCS National Championship Game opposite Alabama, but that did not go as well. Notre Dame saw its winning streak and unblemished record come to an inglorious end as the Crimson Tide rolled their way to a 42-14 victory. If the latest college football odds are any indication, the Irish may have a difficult time matching last season’s success and they can thank a brutal 2013 schedule as well as the loss of quarterback Everett Golson (poor academic judgement). Notre Dame is a +6000 play to win the 2014 BCS Championship and it is favored to win Under 8.5 games at -135 odds.
Notre Dame returns plenty of talent from last year’s squad, including eight starters from a defense that allowed just 12.8 points per game; however, the loss of offensive talent may prove difficult to overcome. In addition to Golson, the Irish also saw the departure of leading rushers Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood and top receiver, tight end Tyler Eifert.
Notre Dame does have an experienced fill in under center, though, as senior Tommy Rees will likely be Kelly’s choice to take Golson’s spot. Rees threw for 436 yards and two touchdowns in limited action last season, but he completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 2871 yards and 20 touchdowns while serving as the team’s starter in 2011.
The other potential issue for Notre Dame is its grueling schedule. The Fighting Irish will face Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Arizona State, USC, BYU, and Stanford and three of those games will take place outside South Bend. NCAA Games of the Year from Sportsbook.ag have Notre Dame listed as an underdog against the Wolverines (+2.5) and Cardinal (+7) and a small favorite against the Sooners (-1) and Sun Devils (-2).
Notre Dame 2013 Schedule and Odds: Provided by Sportsbook.ag
Odds to win 2014 BCS Championship +6000
Regular Season Win Total: Over 8.5 (+105), Under 8.5 (-135)
2013 Regular Season Schedule –
8/31 Notre Dame vs Temple
9/7 Notre Dame (+2.5) at Michigan (NCAA Football Game of the Year)
9/14 Notre Dame at Purdue
9/21 Notre Dame (-5.5) vs Michigan State (NCAA Football Game of the Year)
9/28 Notre Dame (-1) vs Oklahoma (NCAA Football Game of the Year)
10/5 Notre Dame (-2) vs Arizona State (Arlington) (NCAA Football Game of the Year)
10/19 Notre Dame (-3.5) vs USC (NCAA Football Game of the Year)
10/26 Notre Dame at Air Force
11/2 Notre Dame vs Navy
11/9 Notre Dame at Pittsburgh
11/23 Notre Dame (-8) vs BYU (NCAA Football Game of the Year)
11/30 Notre Dame (+7) at Stanford (NCAA Football Game of the Year)