Frankie V Prediction: Notre Dame v. Wake Forest ’17

Notre Dame stays at home for the third weekend in a row to protect it’s #3 ranking in the College Football Playoff Rankings.  Fresh off a beat down of another top 15 opponent, the Irish schedule lightens a bit with unranked Wake Forest (5-3).  Will the Irish continue their winning ways and stay in the coveted Top 4 spots in the CFP rankings? Let’s dive in and find out.

What Concerns Me This Week

Brandon Wimbush’s Ankle. Brian Kelly has said that Wimbush hasn’t been limited at all this week, but after watching him in the 4th quarter last week I am still concerned about that ankle.  Notre Dame needs Wimbush’s ankle 100% down the stretch to have a chance at capping off this regular season with four more wins to reach the playoffs.  The Irish might not need Wimbush to run much this week but they do need that in future weeks so they need to protect him from some unnecessary hits this week.  Josh Adams also needs Wimbush’s running threat in order to keep opening up those monster holes that #33Trucking is driving through too.

Wake Forest’s Knowledge of MIke Elko.  Wake Forest has some injuries this week that make them much less formidable than they could have been, but their knowledge of Mike Elko’s defense is still worrisome.  Dave Clawson knows how Elko’s defense is built and how he calls a game from working with him for so long.  It won’t be enough to make this a tough game, but it could be just enough to take away from style points this weekend.

The Health of Running Backs Not Named Josh Adams.  Josh Adams set a career high in carries last week against NC State in part because he’s just that good and in part because Notre Dame’s other backs can’t stay healthy.  We got to see the return of Dexter Williams, but he didn’t play that much.  Tony Jones Jr got tripped up with a hip injury though after nursing a balking ankle for weeks.  This is the kind of week that it would be nice to give Adams a bit of a lighter load to rest up just a bit.

The Current Spread.  Seriously, what does Vegas know that we don’t?   The 14 point spread really jumps out to me.  Notre Dame has been blowing teams out and just beat NC State and USC by way more than 14.  Wake Forest isn’t as good as either team and they lost their top wide receiver for the year last week.  It’s a very, very tempting line actually, but it’s also a bit curious.

What Doesn’t Concern Me This Week

Wake’s Run Defense.  The Demon Deacons run defense is ranked 89th in the country and Notre Dame just shredded the “vaunted” NC State run defense for 318 yards.  The Notre Dame offensive line will eat tomorrow and Josh Adams will put up more Heisman caliber numbers.   Even if Wake Forest decides that they won’t respect the passing game or Wimbush’s running threat because of his ankle, I still think Notre Dame will be able to run the ball with regular success on the Wake Forest defense.

Wake’s Passing Game.  Another week, another efficient quarterback for the Notre Dame defense.  Last week NC State was content with trying to dink and unk down the field but it didn’t really get them anywhere.  They scored 7 points on offense.  Wake Forest could try the same approach now that Greg Dortch is out for the season.  If they do, Notre Dame corners will have an even better game this week than they did last.  Julian Love or Nick Watkins will jump a shout route for a pick if that is Wake’s plan.

A Let Down Performance.  In other years I would be worried about a let down, but not this year.  This team seems locked in and focused.  While us fans obsessed over the the CFP Rankings on Tuesday, Notre Dame’s captains were doing things like mentoring kids and coaching kids flag football.  Drue Tranquill said this team would be focused on punishing every opponent for the rest of the year after the loss to Georgia and he has been proven right.

Players To Watch

  • Josh Adams – Let’s get him another 150+ yards and a couple TDs with one coming from his customary 70+ yard range and get him on the sidelines with a good lead.
  • Kevin Stepherson – If I keep writing it, it will eventually happen right?  This is the week we see Wimbush and Stepherson connect on a deep ball.  Stepherson could go over 100 yards tomorrow.
  • Brandon Wimbush – Will the ankle force Wimbush to trust his arm a little more than his legs this week?  This is a good time to see him take another step forward as a passer.
  • Tevon Coney – He has been balling out the last couple weeks.  Look for him to have another good weekend as he continues to lead the Irish in tackles.
  • Dexter Williams – He saw some limited action last week.  It would be nice to see a larger load for Dexter this week.  It would be even nicer to see him get into the open field and reach the endzone for the first time since early in the season.
  • Julian Okwara – Have a feeling the youngster gets a sack or two this weekend against one of his home-state programs.
  • Cole Kmet – If Alize Mack is unable to go this weekend because of his concussion, look for the frosh to see more playing time.

How’d I Do Last Week

Should have stuck with my pre-season prediction last week. In August I predicted Notre Dame in a 34-17 win but adjusted to 34-24 before the game.  Notre Dame ended up winning 35–14.  Not too bad of a prediction back in August though huh?  I also didn’t see Notre Dame running for 300+ on NC State.  I thought they would be able to run some, but didn’t expect 300+.

Prediction Time

I can’t fight this feeling any longer.  I have been a bit conservative in my predictions the last few weeks, but I just can’t do it anymore.  I am all in with this team.  I had been holding back because I just didn’t want to get my hopes up too prematurely, but that ship has sailed.  My chips are all on the table at this point.

This game shouldn’t be close.  Wake Forest comes in with a decent record at 5-3 but it’s a bit misleading considering three of those wins were to Utah State, Presbyterian, and Appalachian State.  The Deacons are also just one of two teams this year to lose to Florida State.  I think we’ll see Notre Dame take a very business like approach to this game this week and take care of business.  We’ll see more of Ian Book handing off to Deon McIntosh in the 4th quarter and the Irish will maintain the profile they have built on their way to their #3 ranking.

Prediction: Notre Dame 42, Wake Forest 13
Pre-Season Prediction: Notre Dame 34-24

Keeping Me Honest, Yearly Results

GamePre-SeasonGame WeekActual Outcome
Week 12: StanfordND 24-21ND 31-17
Week 11: NavyND 49-17ND 45-24ND 24-17
Week 10: MiamiND 31-27ND 38-24UM 41-8
Week 9: Wake ForestND 34-24ND 42-13ND 48-37
Week 8: #14 NC StateND 34-17ND 34-24ND 35-14
Week 7: #21 USCUSC 38-24ND 34-31ND 49-14
Week 6: North CarolinaND 31-21ND 41-17ND 33-10
Week 5: Miami OHND 42-17ND 49-13ND 52-17
Week 4: #16 Michigan StateND 24-13ND 30-28ND 38-18
Week 3: Boston CollegeND 35-10ND 35-10ND 49-20
Week 2: #3 GeorgiaUGA 29-27UGA 29-27UGA 20-19
Week 1: TempleND 31-21ND 31-21ND 49-16

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  1. Your responses have been pawning my farthole. Xoxo burgy. Your insight is filled with naughty boy seed that has been spiced with pineapple and condoms. #thinkaboutit

    1. Thanks, “Ron,” glad you managed to get your head out of Butch Davis’ crotch for a few seconds to chime in.

      I guess for someone who has no wit whatsoever we shouldn’t take your words too much to heart.

    2. Your responses have been pawning my farthole. Xoxo burgy. Your insight is filled with naughty boy seed that has been spiced with pineapple and condoms. #thinkaboutit

  2. We’ll see where this D is next two weeks against a high-octane Miami O that is shredding VaTech tonight and Navy’s triple option. Not encouraging!

    WF played without its top O weapon. Enough said there.

    1. I do agree the defense was very disappointing tonight. They seemed a bit off all night, though the wheels really came off in the 2nd half. I won’t write them off yet, but they should have held WF in check. We’ll see how they respond next week. I think, I hope, that tonight was just a bad day and nothing more.

  3. I hope we don’t look back at this game as the one that cost us a playoff spot. What is it with WF anyway? Two years ago we had a blowout score but the game didn’t feel like a blowout. Today they torch our defense.

    Now I’m not ready to say Elko’s overrated or our defense is smoke and mirrors. They had a bad game, but they held some prolific offenses in check. They had a bad day. Part of it may be their coaches familiarity with Elko, after all, he worked with him for what, 15 years. The defense will have 3 more games to prove this game was just an anomaly.

    This was a game where the offense bailed us out thankfully. That makes me feel this team is better than 2012. The defense is generally pretty solid, but on a day when they weren’t the offense took care of business.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that we needed to blow out WF and didn’t. I think we’re back to needing some help from other teams. Not as much as when there were 4 undefeated teams, but if Clemson and OK win out, that can be trouble for us. At least OSU is out of it now. Let’s hope ND wins out and either Clemson or OK loses one more game.

    Oh, and thanks MSU for beating PSU. While PSU was not a threat anymore, MSU winning does help our SOS just a bit.

  4. D played way too soft and I know the game was never really in doubt so Elko prob called softer d to run more clock off but wake was in hurry up pretty much the entire second half so they piled up loads of yards and points. Still disappointed we didn’t pressure them more at the end. We still need to continue to win big and that score isn’t going to impress anyone unless you watched the game to know that ND controlled the game.

    Still awesome to see a school record set of offensive yardage. Imagine if our receivers could catch? What were they paying homages to Mack for being out or something? I know wimbush isn’t a polished passer yet but all year long he has put some passes, and prob a few that could have been tds, that our receivers have dropped. And honestly, if they catch those, add those passing tds to wimbushs stats along with 13 rushing TDS and however many running yards he has and I put Wimbush right up there with Adams for the Heisman.

  5. SFR, true, but, our d today took the game off, they weren’t threatened at all to have them win this one. Next week will tell the story of this defense.

  6. All this negativity, again.

    Notre Dame came out completely flat and played their worst game of the season. I was having flashbacks to Stanford in 1992. But this team never let it be a game. We set a school record for yardage. We controlled the entire game. Our backup QB played the 4th quarter and our Heisman candidate sat most the game. We dominated.

    Our defense has had a terrific season. The team our coordinator last coached with was able to put a scheme together (is that a surprise, really? Who knows Elko better than Wake?). It’s an anomaly. This game was never in doubt. The entire second half was garbage time.

    Reminds me of that optimist/pessimist article a few weeks ago. If you look for the worst in this game you’ll find something to worry about. But remember, people were upset with our 20+ win against UNC with a backup quarterback. We’ve done alright since then.

    1. Exactly, this defense has played two poor quarters of football all year long.. They were both the 2nd

      I don’t care what the scores says the Irish dominated Deamon Deacons tonight.

  7. Just finished the game. What kind of play calling is that Chip Long? You’re up 41-16 and you’re still throwing the ball. Retardedness! Then you let them back in the game?! We should’ve won by our typical 20+ point margin but, by 11. I love a win but, that was ugly as hell!!!!

  8. BK winning like He did at Cincy, its simple, just put more points on the board, Major Hoople. School record total offense. If O stays healthy, they have a lot of weapons to win that Championship.

    1. GK, D wins titles. Do you think this D would hold up against Bama?

      Heck, a backup WF QB went 90 yards against this overrated D!

    2. Now let’s not panic about the defense yet. Clearly today was not their best showing, but one bad game does not make a season. They’ve been solid all year up to now. Now if they have another bad game, then I’d be worried. I think they will come out more focused next week and maybe for the rest of the season.

      Now are they ready for Alabama, or a more experienced Georgia team? That’ll be the million dollar question. Even if they dominate Miami, Navy and Stanford, that will be difficult to answer. Alabama and Georgia seem to be in a class of their own.

  9. This is the 2012 D all over again. Opportunistic. But when it counts it gets shredded.

    UGA wouldn’t stop scoring against this D if they played today.

    1. Fortunately the Irish offense is much better than the 2012 team. Is it enough to offset the overrated Defense. We will find out soon enough. I do think this team will run the table and get into playoffs.Then they will really be testedagainst whoever they play. Fun times ahead.

  10. Frankie, what happened to that keeping the Deaks under 20? Like Wimbush airing it out all over the place. EQSB needs to add meat and potatoes in his diet. But, on the plus side maybe that will keep him in the Bend and bring his brother in.

  11. Again, this D isn’t PO caliber at all. PERIOD!

    When was the last time WF punted?

    Irish better score again or it will get tight since this D will not stop WF again this game.

  12. Might have to play them down the road in a bowl game if they Irish lose again. Ohio St. pretty much owns ND in bowl games so not the best scenario.

    Still rather play them than Bama, though.

  13. This D is so overrated!!!

    UGA today would put up fifty, easy peezy.

    This isn’t a PO D, no matter how much wishful thinking on our part.

  14. I think he pulled up lame. But, yeah, that looked strange, almost like he was waiting to get caught from behind.

    Of more concern is this D. WF without its best WR has moved the ball easily. I still believe that this D would get destroyed by Bama or another of the monsters in the POs.

  15. Can this team hit a long ball in stride to save their lives?!

    How is it that ND can’t pick up a yard on 4th down against WF?!

    This team won’t beat the big boys missing long passes, leaving points on the field, not converting on 3rd or 4th and short.

  16. Clay pool’ gotta make that catch to beat the heavyweights coming up. Glad to see Wimbush back in there, for timing purposes.

  17. We are paying a price for this game in injuries. It might be a good idea to let Ian Book finish this one with the second and third running backs.

    La Crosse, IN

  18. Wake, kicking 4th and one. They think they are still in the game. Glad to see Wimbush no after effects from last week. To bad they lost Elko, this may have been a game. Wimbush throwing a softer ball

  19. Totally agree, Damian. This team needs to refocus.

    Love needs to come up with that gimee pick to end the drive and get the ball back to the O. I can almost guarantee this will turn into WF points.

  20. Glad to see the Irish turn it around after the defense allowed a TD. The Irish seem a little flat out of the gate. This isn’t the BCS era where as long as you win out you’re ok. If they don’t dominate WF they could drop out of the top 4 depending on how other games play out. Style points are a must.

    That being said, I’ve seen this out of ND before this year. They seem a bit iffy to start before they turn it up. Last week against NC State is a good example.

    Refocus on WF, at half time the coaches need to remind the players a simple win is not enough. They need to shut them down.

    Lets go IRISH!!!

  21. Like I said, game back on!

    Damn it!!!

    This game looks like so many other games in November where the Irish choke to an underdog.

    Need an immediate response!

  22. Need to convert here and score a TD to start putting the DD out of their misery.

    Don’t convert and score a TD and they stay in the game and gain a little momentum.


  23. Did you catch the Deacon picking up his flavored pacifier while in motion? Wolford trying to get td to save face. When will opponents learn to respect Love?

  24. “Burgy” will show up post game with his usual banal commentary.

    I’ll start worrying about the Criminals after we win this one.


  25. SFR, where’s Major Hoople, aka Burgy.? Wimbush looked like he was carrying a handbag into the end zone. Lots of Cane spy’s watching our every move.

    1. Good call, GK. BW is careless with the ball. I’ve noticed that too. Hope it doesn’t cost ND in a big spot.

  26. This is exactly how ND has looked in the past against heavy underdogs under BK.

    I have a really bad sense of dejavu about this game. Hope I’m wrong but I can’t shake the feeling I’ve seen this game too often!

  27. Irish need to just keep what they’ve been doing—to get where they are. Mistake free , avoid costly penalties , force turnovers on opponent — start strong , score early , keep opponent from any momentum. The Defense stays course as they have been doing. Beat Wake Forest soundly , convincingly — don’t give the CFP Committee any opening /cause to question the #3 ranking they gave Notre Dame. This could be a weekend of major upsets and/or teams being eliminated from playoffs. I sure hope it’s Oklahoma — for starters.

  28. Hopefully Frank didn’t jinx anything by going all in this week.

    I too feel this should be a comfortable win though. In years past I might have been concerned about a trap game but this year they seem focused. I don’t see that happening.

    The main concern I guess would be how well does WF know what schemes Elko will run? I don’t think they’ll be able to take advantage of that too much, but it is something I’m sure Elko is prepared for.

    So as long as the team (and coaches) maintain their focus, avoid letting their number 3 ranking distract them, and take care of business, this should be a comfortable game. I’d like to see Wimbush continue to improve his passing this week, and some improvement in ST’s. Finally I hope we see a lot of Book in the 4th quarter because we are in the midst of a blow out of WF.

  29. Don’t sweat Vegas; their job is to get people to put money down–not to predict football games. Who is going to put money on Wake against this Irish team without a tempting line?

    It’s a calculated risk, but they’ll cover their books wether the Irish cover or not.

    We’re going to pound this Wake team. Maybe the score reflects that, or maybe it’s 35-24–but it will never be close.

  30. Am I missing something? I love what I am seeing out of Deon McIntosh. Of course it would be nice if Williams and Jones were healthy and I like the idea of resting Adams after he rips them for another +150 yard performance. McIntosh, however, has been there when called upon and he has performed.

    As for the score, I like Frank’s prediction. I can’t see Wake Forest putting more than 13 or 14 points on the board.

    Stay focused boys and execute.

    Go Irish!!!

  31. No sense in getting anyone needlessly injured preparing for ‘canes. 35-21 Irish. Can’t wait to see the new tight end Cole Kmet.

    1. GK , Cole Kmet is future star tight end for Notre Dame. A go to guy in the passing game in future years. Smythe is helping out this season with some catches. Alize Mack can’t catch a football whether on his own or in traffic.

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