Notre Dame Football 2018: Over/Under Predictions

With the closing of fall camp brings my annual season over/under predictions post. Last season I hit on just 39% of my predictions, but I was fairly accurate with a lot of the lines set. (Highlights include an over/under total touchdowns for Wimbush set at 29.5, he ended up with 30, and Tranquill total tackles for loss at 10.5, exactly where he ended up.)

This is always one of my favorite columns, everyone likes predictions, and it always gives a look into what type of team I think this is going to be.

As an aside, predicting what the offense will be or what it will do was really hard. I really have no good idea of what this offense will look like on a game to game basis.

Total rushing attempts for Brandon Wimbush– 150.5 (my prediction= over) Chip Long continues to talk about Notre Dame being a running team, and Wimbush is probably the best runner they have. I think all of the talk about Wimbush as a passer is missing it. He’s going to run, a lot, and not just as a scrambler. He finished with 141 attempts last season, he’ll top that this year.

Total carries for Jafar Armstrong– 99.5 (over) Interestingly, I think Armstrong’s role in the offense is more secure than either Tony Jones Jr. or Dexter Williams. He has a skill set that lends itself to all types of games, which isn’t so for Jones Jr. and Williams. There is a good chance he is the top ball carrier as a running back at the end of the year.

Leading receiver total receptions– 49.5 (under) I don’t think anyone gets there this season, although I think three players could get into the 40’s (Claypool, Boykin, Kmet). I just don’t think there will be the volume of passes for any one player to enough targets. To get 50 receptions, you’d have to be right around 100 targets. That’s a lot.

Total touchdowns for the tight ends– 4.5 (over) The last two seasons the Notre Dame tight ends have finished with four combined touchdowns, so it makes sense to set the line there. I think Kmet gets there by himself, with Mack providing a couple to reach the number comfortably. Again, Chip Long loves playing tight ends, and they are such natural targets in the middle of the field, especially around the red zone.

Team rushing yards– 2,499.5 (under) The 2012 team rushed for just under 2,500 yards and I think this seasons unit will do the same. Not enough explosiveness at running back to get there. Incidentally, I think the 2012 offense is a good model for what Notre Dame is trying to be this season.

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Total team sacks– 29.5 (over) They achieved 24 last season, with 65 quarterback hurries, and have a number of breakout candidates at defensive end. This is the step that makes this defense elite and I think they make it.

Tranquill + Coney combined tackles for loss– 25 (under) They finished with 22.5 last season, but I think this year they are going to lose some to the defensive line. I really, really like the defense this year.

Combined interceptions for Pride, Love, Crawford– 10.5 (over) This is ambitious, I guess I’m just in a good mood today. Improved pass rush, leads to quarterbacks trying to fit the ball into tight windows with hurried throws, combined with aggressive corners, equals pick city.

Total starts for Houston Griffith– 1.5 (under) He’ll make a spot start due to injury, but Gilman and Coleman keep their jobs.

Ending ranking in total defense in S&P+– 10th (under) They finished 26th last year. Improvements on the defensive line, an upgrade at corner and safety, the dominance of Tranquill and Coney, it’s all there staring us in the face.

Justin Yoon field goal kicking percentage– 78% (over) last season he finished at 77.8%, with the over/under set at 75%, I’m not going to bet against him again, and reports from camp say his leg is looking great. He has a great looking leg.

Freshmen who play more than four contests- 5.5 (over) Kevin Austin, Shayne Simon, Bo Bauer, Houston Griffith, Jahmir Smith, Derrik Allen

Total number of victories (regular season)– 9.5 (over) I change my mind on this almost daily, but this is the one I’m putting in public, so I guess this is the official answer. I think the defense will be top 10 and as for the offense, it’s more a vote of confidence for offensive coordinator Chip Long. I think he got to know his quarterback over the course of the offseason,  he understands what works for him and what doesn’t, and he’ll effectively utilize the strengths of his unit, because there is a lot to build off of. Brian Kelly is on the hot seat, but his program doesn’t act like it. That tells me something.

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23 comments

  1. Doc Savage 1 year ago

    I think commentors like David are a necessary evil on all of the ND’s sites. Though he is nothing more than a pip-squeaking troll he does help in keeping the conversation lively and on track. I’m sure that most of his comments are not his own thoughts. Most likely they are fed to him by his mother who probably spends most of her day down in her basement cleaning up all of his soiled bedding and clothing.

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    1. Bruce G Curme 1 year ago

      Pretty Savage, Doc.

      BGC ’77 ’82

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  2. Michael the Archangel 1 year ago

    It’s now or not likely too soon regarding double digit wins. Look ahead at the brutal upcoming schedules in ‘19, ‘20, and beyond; if ND challenges for a spot in the playoffs, this year may well be the best shot they’ll have in the near future. And it’ll take more than improved pass efficiency; a repeat of an impressive rushing offense, greater defense pressure, greatly improved safety play, and a special team’s key score or return in a critical game will all contribute to a great season if it will be turn out as a great season come Jan., 2019.

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  3. Bruce G Curme 1 year ago

    NDCrazyMike,
    I think BK has weathered the two-headed storm of a 4-8 season and the academic scandal that was way “over-punished” by the NCAA Committee on Revisions. BK made outstanding changes to his staff (I suspect he had some really good advice on some of those hires from people inside college football). BK bounced back bigtime in 2017, and the program is in great shape right now largely due to his excellent recruiting, and his staff. In fact, if you really want to know what I think, it’s this: Notre Dame is in the best shape it has been in since the early 90’s…and we can give much of the credit for that to BK…he is a true believer that it is possible to win big at ND within the constraints of the academic pressures at ND. So am I.

    BGC ’77 ’82

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    1. ndcrazymike 1 year ago

      I agree, I think he is doing a great job! Thanks for responding! Have a good time at the opener!!

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  4. ChrisJ 2 years ago

    I live in OH. I can’t stand OSU. Urban Liar is garbage. The excuses I hear from these OSU fans why keeping Meyer are unreal. I hope every opposing teams’ fans/student sections comes up with some of the best burns when OSU travels to their stadiums this year. And I really hope the TV broadcasts actually show some of it. Finally, OSU is now the laughing stock of college football and deservedly so.

    I just needed to vent to some fans who have at least some bit of understanding of real life.

    Thanks.

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  5. Bruce G Curme 2 years ago

    NotreDan71,
    I think some in the sports media world have (and still are) overestimating ND fan discontent with BK, and underestimating the support BK still has from the ND fanbase. A lot of people around here still like him and are not even thinking of him as someone “on the hotseat.” That does not excuse 2016 of course; but there is no doubt that more of the fanbase looks at 2016 as an “outlier” than look at 2012 as an outlier.

    BGC ’77 ’82

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    1. ndcrazymike 2 years ago

      You are right B G C people forget LOU HOLTZ last 3 years at ND his records were 6-5-1 in 94″ 8-3 in 95″ and 9-3 in 96″ !! Yes we know LOU was a much better coach than KELLY but it was after the 93 season AD WHITE stopped permitting PROP 48 KIDS. And since then the team has struggled!! Not just winning but hiring a great coach!! Hard to win with the ACADEMIC standards!! Even harder to find a coach who wants to try under the burden! And not to mention at 1.6 million a year KELLY is the 64th highest paid coach in DIV. 1!! Like to hear what you think B G C

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      1. Greg Kelly 2 years ago

        NDCM, agree with everything, except remains to be seen who was the better coach. Yes Holtz won NC. Kelly so far one NC appearance that went south. I’ll never forget Holtz last game. Ahead by 8 with a minute or less against Southern Cal he gets to USC goal line. He goes for the fg. Instinctively I thought this could be disastrous. Sure enough it’s blocked, run back for td. I knew right then we’re going down. They get the 2 point conversion and go on to win in ot.

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  6. Bruce G Curme 2 years ago

    Southside,
    Yes, that zone/read option that we run develops way too SSSLLLLOOOOWWWLY for modern college football. But Coach Long and BK have some quick opening running plays, and they are mostly the ones that hit for the huge gains on the ground early in the year (@BC, @MSU) and other early games last year. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the endless loping along some sort of sliding mesh point, while Brandon and the running back fight with each other over the ball. I hope we never see that CRAP again!

    BGC ’77 ’82

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  7. Phil 2 years ago

    I keep hearing how good our defense is and how mediocre our offense may be. I tend to trust an athletic mobile QB with experience to be more of a sure thing than a defense that has zero pass rushing capabilities. You cannot dominate a game without that unless you have all world secondary which they dont have. My prediction will be 10-2 being led by a running attack, opportunistic deep balls, and a defense that makes enough plays to be a consistent top 25 type of defense.

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  8. NotreDan71 2 years ago

    Yall have been saying Kelly is on the hotseat for years, lmao, WRONG.

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    1. david 2 years ago

      Kelly….purple face and asbestos ass.

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      1. HURLS 2 years ago

        Tsk Tsk Tsk, David. He’s perfect…for NotAdame.

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    2. southside 2 years ago

      Coach Kelly will probably be back — even with an 8 win 2018 season. It will be a let down — but he won’t get fired. Ara and Lou coached around 10 years–they have National Championships on their resume. Kelly will be reaching 10 years soon. Without an NC — he probably will call it quits. On the other hand , Irish might win 10/11 this season —and with the talent for 2019—Irish can do double digit wins again. But , lacking an NC with Kelly at helm for 10 seasons –that probably would mean he’s not coming back.

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  9. Bruce G Curme 2 years ago

    Hunter, “Power running teams” work a lot better when there is a true fullback on the roster…though that second running back does not need to line up in a “classical” fullback spot. Long will run the ball with a FB (or equivalent) in the game…but BK likes the single back zone/read look better,,,BK likes to pass, that’s for sure. If we just try to run the ball down M’s throat, we’ll start the second half with about 4 or 5 first downs…if Michigan tries to run it down our throats, they will be starting the second half the same way LSU did in the Citrus Bowl…with a couple of first downs, and trailing. The team that can pass in this game, as well as run, will win this game. Balance works against elite “D’s” (which both Michigan and ND have). Of course that could be said of any game I suppose (except against the bone, a true running formation which can function perfectly well without any passing at all).

    BGC ’77 ’82

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    1. southside 2 years ago

      BGC , I’m with ya on changing up the back field set. Miami was all over Wimbush/Adams on the slow developing RPO–10 yards behind line of scrimmage. One has to wonder if an option attack — with two man back field might stir up some surprises on a keyed in opposing D. Wimbush , starts from taking snap behind center–he’s got the talent to run from anywhere–besides the slow developing RPO — 10 YARDS behind line of scrimmage. Go Irish.

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  10. hunter bright 2 years ago

    ” Chip Long continues to talk about Notre Dame being a running team, and Wimbush is probably the best runner they have. I think all of the talk about Wimbush as a passer is missing it. He’s going to run, a lot, and not just as a scrambler. He finished with 141 attempts last season, he’ll top that this year.”

    Run oriented as a offense based on highlights (MSU, USC games) I submitted to certain individuals (Sicilian) last spring in an effort to provide clear evidence that ND is/was a 2017 powerhouse. ND at times was post USC a top #3 power. WIMBUSH INJURED BEFORE MIAMI CHANGED IT ALL.

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  11. Bruce G Curme 2 years ago

    As GK put it below, I care about W’s and L’s, not under/over predictions. I think it is particularly difficult to predict a “run to pass ratio” for Brian Kelly. But given a 9.5 for regular season wins, I’ll take the over on that one.
    BTW: Early weather projections seem to say 80 degrees and dry on gameday. But it’s early!

    BGC ’77 ’82

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  12. Greg Kelly 2 years ago

    I don’t care about these sort of things except I’m with you on the over for tight ends. The final score is what I live for. . I see Uof M take 10-6 halftime lead.Losers David and Anita C lead a chorus of boos, barking for BK’s dismissal. Then, in second half Wimbush gets on fire and finishes with a 30-27 Irish Victory for the ages. Wimbush gets NCAA player of the week award.

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    1. david 2 years ago

      You say you “don’t care for these sorts of things”…..then proceed to predict in even more details, even adding predictions on the reactions to you’re imaginary scenariuos.

      No, you don’t care for these things…clearly. You’re just a sane, non-hypocrite. A stable genius.

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      1. Greg Kelly 2 years ago

        Pretty good nom de plume you got going there. But, you couldn’t spell cat if you were spotted the c& a.

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  13. BC 2 years ago

    I do not think BK is on the hot seat, not that it matters. I don’t see them having a disastrous season like 2016.

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