The Irish Blogger Gathering is back this week with the Irish headed for a top 10- showdown later today in the desert.
Before getting into everyone’s questions, here was mine for the week. Notre Dame has not been strong the week following Navy under Brian Kelly and at the end of the Charlie Weis Era. Why have the Irish struggled the following week and what can Brian Kelly and his staff do to prevent a similar outcome this weekend against the #12 ranked Sun Devils?
Aaron @ Fighting Irish Blog – With Joe Schmidt out for the foreseeable future, here is a random question. Who is the most indispensable student-athlete on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball? Why?
On the offensive side of the ball that’s an easy one – Everett Golson. As Golson goes, so to does Notre Dame this year. If Notre Dame were to lose Golson I have no doubt that Malik Zaire could step in and play well not at the level they are now given Zaire’s lack of experience to this point.
Defensively, I’ll go with Jaylon Smith. Notre Dame is going to need some big plays out of the defense down the stretch and Smith is the most capable remaining starter to provide those plays. With Schmidt out, Smith also becomes the most experienced linebacker in the starting lineup.
Mike @ NDNation – If ND wins out, do you believe they’ll get a fair shot at a playoff berth? Why or why not?
Yes. If Notre Dame wins out and finishes the season 11-1 with the lone loss coming to an undefeated Florida State team they will have a very sound argument. Right now, the Irish just don’t have any signature wins on their resume to point to as a reason for the committee to rank them higher thanks to Stanford’s poor season. A win this weekend over #9 Arizona State would give them a great one to add to that resume. If USC wins it’s next two games before taking on the Irish that would be another strong win for the resume.
With a lot of football left to be played and a lot of opportunities for teams ranked ahead of them to loss, the Irish should find themselves right in the thick of things if they win out. This weekend alone offers several opportunities for higher ranked teams to lose alone.
Josh @ Subway Domer – With some bad officiating and some head scratching poll results, Notre Dame is sitting at #10 in a season that has seen a wide amount of injuries and suspensions for the Irish. Brian Kelly has played his part with an incredible amount of calmness. So, When is BK just going to snap? If you don’t think he will, sell me on Stoic BK.
I think we’re already starting to see Kelly start to make his case. Kelly has been attacking teams who play FCS opponents while the Irish only play FBS opponents. If the Irish keep winning and don’t move up the polls much – especially this week with the possibility for a road win over a top 10 foe – I think we’ll see Kelly start to make his case more and more in his weekly press conferences.
Kelly has a political background so I don’t think we’ll see him totally snap, but he will do his best to make his argument through the media if his team keeps winning and doesn’t move up in the poil accordingly.
Ryan @ Her Loyal Sons – Based on how the rankings this week, do you feel any differently about a too-close-for comfort win against Navy or, for that matter, playing Navy to begin with?
My feelings haven’t changed although at the same time I do see it a bit as a no win situation for Notre Dame. If the Irish win big they’ll never get any credit for it because “it’s just Navy.” When the games are close they get blasted for it. That being said, there is no reason for it to ever be as close as it was last weekend or last year.