Will Notre Dame make it to the BCS Championship game again this season?
Last year, Notre Dame surprised everyone by reaching the BCS Championship Game, even though the Fighting Irish were well and truely outplayed by Alabama, losing 42-14 to the Crimson Tide.
The main question for 2013 is, can the Irish maintain their level of play or will they take a step back?
Even as a fan of Notre Dame, I have to say that it will be probably be the latter, especially with quarterback Everett Golson out for the season and the defense likely not be as stout as it was in 2012.
Just looking at the last four BCS Championship losers, they all regressed the following year. Oklahoma went from 11-1 during the 2008 regular season to 7-5 in 2009. Texas dropped to 5-7 in 2010 after going 12-0 in 2009. Both Oregon and LSU did not fall as much, but the two Big 12 schools lost two games each during the regular season after going unbeaten the prior season.
Last year’s offense was actually less proficient than the one in 2011. In fact, the team averaged more points per game with Tommy Rees at quarterback than Everett Golson. The main problem last year was a 48 percent red zone touchdown efficiency percentage, a stat matched by the likes of Washington State who were a three-win team. The numbers should rise in 2013 but not by much considering the Irish lose their top two running backs and leading pass catcher.
In the 2002 season, Notre Dame went 10-1 in the regular season and had a defense that allowed 17 points per game. The following season with eight returning starters, the defense allowed 26 points per game. This year’s team also returns eight starters from a defense that allowed fewer than 13 points per game. Even though it appears the Irish will once again have a tremendous defense, it’s likely that they will gave up about a touchdown more in 2013.
At the end of the day, there have been a lot of outgoing key personnel in Notre Dame, such as Everett Golson, Manti Te’o, Tyler Eifert and Theo Riddick, for the team to have a strong enough chance to make as much of an impact as they did last year… but then again people were writing them off this time last year…happy wheels game