Frankie V’s Prediction: Can Notre Dame Slay Goliath in the Rose Bowl?

Notre Dame squares off with the heavily favored Crimson Tide of Alabama today in the Rose Bowl with a berth in the National Championship on the line. The Irish are in the College Football Playoff semifinal for the second time in three years, but will the outcome today be better than it was two years ago? Well, maybe. But will the Irish have a chance to slay goliath today?

Tommy Rees & Brian Kelly HAVE to break tendencies

Notre Dame is not good enough to simply lineup and play Alabama how they have played everyone else this year. There is no debating that. They just can’t bully Alabama how they have teams like Boston College, Pitt, and Syracuse. So if Notre Dame lines up and tries to run at them the way they have on lesser talented teams all year long, the results won’t be pretty.

That isn’t to say that Notre Dame shouldn’t run at all. Brian Kelly and Notre Dame talked all week long about the need to run the ball, and that is true. What they can’t do is run it exactly how they have all year – meaning they need to throw in new wrinkles, new misdirection out of the same looks they’ve been showing all year.

Notre Dame runs the ball on 2nd and long more than any team in the country. If they do that today against Alabama at all, it’s like surrendering that drive. On the reverse, Notre Dame doesn’t utilize a lot of play-action despite being a good running team. That has to change today too. If Tommy Rees mixes in more play-action out of 12 and 13 personnel and has Alabama thinking run, they’ll have a chance for some chunk plays.

Screenplays could be a factor today too. We’ve hardly seen them since the beginning of the year, but if the Tide pass rush is getting to Book, a couple of well-timed screens could lead to some chunk plays.

And they HAVE to take chances on offense – a lot of them

Notre Dame needs to go for it on 4th down more than they have all season – especially in the redzone. Notre Dame is not going to have a chance in this game if they kick field goals today. It might make for a better looking final score, but it won’t make for a better opportunity to pull off the upset.

Jonathan Doerer made a 51-yarder in the ACC Championship game before missing a chip shot. If he has a busy day kicking field goals, Notre Dame probably loses big.

We need to see some deep shots down the field today too. We saw them against Clemson in November, but not a couple of weeks ago. That has to change. If Braden Lenzy is healthy enough to have an impact, send him deep a couple of times early. Having enough time to take those shots could be an issue with the challenges along the offensive line since the injury to Jarrett Patterson.

To take those deep shots, Notre Dame needs Ian Book to play much more loose than he did in the ACCCG. He is not going to have receivers running wide open today – in no scenario will that happen save for maybe a couple of breakdowns in coverage. For the most part, Book is going to have to make some tight window throws for Notre Dame to score points. We’ve seen him do that before, just not all the time. He’s got to do that today.

Again, Notre Dame isn’t winning this game – or even being close – if they just try to run their offense today. I’m talking gadget plays, kitchen sink type gameplan. That’s what Notre Dame has to do to be in this game in the 4th quarter.

Notre Dame’s defense has to make Alabama earn their points

In the ACCCG, Notre Dame let Clemson hit chunk plays. That can’t happen today, or the result will be the same. Notre Dame needs to make Alabama earn their points by moving down the field and putting drives together, not by hitting 60 and 70-yard pass plays. Mac Jones is a Heisman, and DeVonta Smith are both finalists, so doing that is much easier said than done, but it’s what Clark Lea has to scheme for today.

Alabama is used to hitting chunk plays and doing whatever they want on offense, so if Notre Dame could make them have long drives, maybe it frustrates them, and they get lucky with a couple of turnovers.

If Alabama has to run more plays and make their way down the field, it also gives Notre Dame’s two superstars – Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah and Kyle Hamilton – more opportunities to get their hands on the ball.

Again, way easier said than done when facing one of the most prolific offenses we’ve seen in college football in recent years, but if that happens, Notre Dame has a chance.

Notre Dame’s front four HAS to make a difference

Clark Lea will have to give his corners help today, or we’ll see those chunk plays that haunted them in the ACCCG. To do that, Notre Dame’s defensive line has to play its best game of the season. Notre Dame has to get pressure on Mac Jones without sending a lot of blitzes, or Mac Jones will pick them apart.

Clark Lea has said all week that even though he is headed to Vanderbilt as their new head coach, this game means a lot to him. And it should. If we’re honest, Lea isn’t going to be coaching in the Playoffs again as long as he’s at Vanderbilt. So, this is likely his last chance at a national title for a while. He also has nothing to lose in this game, so maybe we’ll see the gameplan of his life today.

Can Notre Dame avoid another 2nd quarter meltdown?

I wrote about this at length earlier this week, but I’ll mention it again here. In 2018 and two weeks ago, the losses to Clemson were marred by meltdowns in the second quarter that let the game get away from them. They can’t do that today.

Prediction Time

I have zero expectations today if I am candid. I can see a scenario where Notre Dame wins this game. It’s very, very unlikely, but not impossible. Everything has to go right for that to happen for Notre Dame, though, and I just don’t see that happening today. While Notre Dame is better than they were the last time they faced Alabama, the Tide are better than they were then too. Notre Dame is getting better each year right now, but the problem is Alabama and Clemson keep moving the goalposts – they both just keep getting better and better too.

I’ve never predicted a Notre Dame blowout in my weekly predictions, but that streak is sadly ending today. I hope I’m wrong. I’ll be rooting like crazy for the Irish today, and I am certainly not hoping to be right about this, but everything in my head tells me that an easy win for Alabama is the most likely scenario today.

Alabama 45, Notre Dame 21

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  1. What we’re seeing in tonight’s game is two heavy weights go at it.

    Like can happen when big punchers fight is one gets knocked out. It happened to Bama two years ago. It happened to Clemson tonight. It can happen to either Ohio St. or Bama in the title game. It doesn’t take away that these three teams are the only heavy weights in today’s game.

    As a middle weight, ND doesn’t have a puncher’s chance against the big boys. The best the Irish can do is try to clutch and grab and hold on for dear life against the heavy weights of college football.

    It is what it is whether Rhonda likes it or not.

  2. Congratulations to the fine young men of ND on an outstanding season. They played with guts, heart, determination and pride. Representing themselves, their teammates and the university in a shining light. Well done and see you next season.
    It was so enjoyable to watch college football this season so we all owe a huge debt of thanks to President Trump for saving college football. Well done sir! Special shout out to a true American patriot Mr. Lou Holtz. May God continue to watch over you and your family.

    To the loyal posters of UHND, well done as well. The insights and analysis are amazing and the optimism is something to behold.
    Your pride in our loyal sons of ND shines through in every post.

    To you and yours for an amazing 2021!

    1. Like I said the jockless Burgundy contributes his usual pseudo ND fan BS. He’s trying to get under “david’s” skin with his pro-Trump platitude.

      I couldn’t care less what this excremental troll says. I rather enjoy seeing the goobers on here buy into his BS. Only proves how uncritical some people are to get fooled by this total tool known as “Ron Burgundy”!

      Please come back so I can enjoy “david” or “David” take you behind the woodshed and give you what you like Rhonda!

  3. Ohio St. is playing with a huge chip thanks to Dabo.

    Clemson is playing its worst game to boot.

    But give Ohio St. credit for playing like a team disrespected unlike ND.

    1. Ohio St. belongs, ND doesn’t, like it or not!

      If BK doesn’t see how modern football is played after tonight, he’s truly an idiot and a lost cause. You need to score over fifty and make a few stops on D to have a chance. Clemson may well score over thirty and lose by three TDs.

      ND needs to recruit elite speed on both O and D to have a chance to win shootouts. That’s just how football is played today. All the elite coaches tonight know that. BK is instead irked by reporters and their questions. What a chump!

  4. I thought we played pretty well. And I am glad Kelly handed it to the national press. Look, Alabama’s loaded. They made plays on the perimeter that were, just, better. And they made more of them. Harris is a great back. He leaped over our guy going at full speed. Yet we held him in check for most of the game but gave up that one big play in the first half. Davonta Smith is today’s Rocket. He flies — fastest guy I have seen in a college uni in a long time. We held him in check for most of the game. In the end, our pedestrian play in the red zone and an untimely turnover in the second half sealed our fate. But Alabama’s used to scoring fifty per game and we held them to 31. Itself, that’s an accomplishment. I don’t feel great. No Irish fan feels great. But Saban’s a hall-of-fame coach with a bunch of titles. And they have several NFLers on offense and a solid defense. Obviously, I wish we won. But it’s not in the cards this year. We’ll get better — learn from it — and make it back to the CFP next year.

  5. BTW: the O lines of Bama, Clemson, and Ohio St. are way better than ND’s collection of over-hyped fat asses!

    1. Notre Dame doesn’t belong on the same field as the other three teams in playoffs. Wonder what Burgandy thinks of ND’s performance. Crickets

      1. Burgy doesn’t care; he’s not a real ND fan. Just a penisless troll some of the goobers on here find amusing. Sad for them!

  6. Good one, Jeff 🤣

    Ohio State’s O coordinator showed more on that last play call for a TD than little Tommy did all season!

    ND just doesn’t belong on the field with any of these three teams!

    Sad but true!

  7. Ohio St. already did more on O than ND did in four quarters in the ACCC game!

    So sad to see how far behind ND is from the elites. BK is no match for any of these coaches and his players no match either.


    1. I don’t know how it happened, but there are only regularly three elite teams, Bama, Clemson, Ohio St.

      What do they have in common? Administrations that want to win, top coaches, elite QBs, athletes all over the field on both sides of the ball.

      ND doesn’t have any one of those things!

  8. Unfortunately, the outcome was predictable and the only thing surprising was the final score. There is no point to rant or rave. Kelly is 1-5 in big/significant games, the Admin has no problem with this outcome as long as a check will be cashed, and detractors have reinforcement in their proclamation of ND being overrated. As a fan, it’s getting old to see this lower level performance on a big stage. Oh well, I see little changes ahead unless Kelly leaves on his own accord. However, the problems go beyond Kelly, but, it would be interesting to see a coach who might get more out of the personnel that ND can currently get versus what we see now with Kelly at the helm. His teams just look so uninspiring in these big games. Well, just about an 8 month break until fall.

    1. That’s right, Stores. But stop being so negative. You’ll hurt the feelings of the goobers by telling them about how things really are!

  9. Well, that could have went better. Though if I’m being completely honest it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I expected something closer to 50-3 than 31-14. Believe it or not this is Alabama’s lowest scoring game of the season and probably as close as anyone got to toppling Alabama this year, except the SEC championship game.

    But the game was never in doubt really. ND had a bit of a better showing this year than in 2012, they tried to make a game of it the best they could. The problem is Alabama just has markedly better players than we do. There’s really only so much scheming you can do, at the end of the day you have to have the players. ND just can’t compete at that level.

    I read an article in my newspaper a few days ago which pretty much says what I’ve been saying for a few years now. There are the kings of CFB–currently Alabama, Clemson and maybe 2 or 3 other teams. Then there are the rest. And there is a huge gulf between the kings and the rest.

    And the powers that be at ND aren’t interested in doing some of the things they need to do to break into that club. It’s a shame because we’re to the point that we are knocking on the door–we manage to make it to the big games now. But we’re still outside looking in and not breaking through.

    And to be completely fair it’s beyond even BK’s ability to fix. Like I said, without the players you can’t scheme your way to beating Alabama. They simply have far more playmakers than we do. And BK can’t recruit the real playmakers we need to win these games. BK’s not an elite coach in my mind, but I want to be fair too and acknowledge that ND’s administration does share some of the responsibility by tying the coach’s hands. You’ve got to look at it from all sides.

    1. BK can’t recruit the real playmakers we need to win these games

      I should have added because of the limitations put on by the administration. He can’t even really make a play for the most elite players because of those limitations. Again…to be completely fair

      1. I’ve been saying that for years, Damian.

        Don’t get me wrong, BK sucks. But it’s hard to win these big games with one hand tied behind your back because the ND admin wants to recruit only rocket scientists!

        I don’t know what deal Lou worked out with ND admissions, but I’m sure that Rocket Ismael was no rocket scientist. ND needs to do whatever it did back when Lou was able to get elite speed and size. No coincidence that those were the last great ND teams.

        But that’s too much for the goobers on here to take in!

      2. SFR,

        To be completely fair I wouldn’t say BK sucks. Weis, Willingham, Davies…now they sucked. BK would be fine at a mid major school. He’ll get you winning seasons most years, he’ll get you into half decent bowl games and even win his fair share. And every so often he’ll surprise and get a NY Day 6 style bowl.

        But he’s not elite. He’s not going to win NCs, he’s not going to beat elite teams. He’s an ok CFB coach that would be fine on a lot of teams that don’t have NC aspirations.

        But it’s true too that the PTBs at ND shoulder some of the blame too. Even if we had Saban as our coach there’s still only so much he could do–at the end of the day you still need the players on the field to execute. Saban isn’t the one out there playing, he still needs elite recruits.

  10. Now the ass whipping officially begins!


    Checking out until after game. Back to “Cobra Kai”.

    Want the apologists to show up and not hide under a rock like they usually do.

      1. Go dry yourself, crybaby! I’m glad no one in here has ever heard of you, loser!

        You’re just a chump who wants to live on past ND football glories!

        Get lost and go watch your faded VHS tapes of Linsdsey Nelson and Paul Hornung calling Sunday morning ND recaps!

        You don’t know jack about football so I don’t care about your personal opinions of me or anybody else, goober!

      1. This team is as gutless as its coach!

        It all starts at the top with Covid Jenkins, kiss-ass Swarbrick, and dickless BK. That then trickles down to the ballless O line, D line, WRs, CBs, etc., the whole damned useless bunch! Of all the gutless units, the worst are the over-rated O line. Every single time these guys fail to show up and man up. I don’t know if its coaching, them being pussies, or both, but these fat f – – ks are useless when it comes right down to it!

        It’s getting to the point that it’s embarrassing being a ND football fan. You guys can take it out on me and “david” (“David”, “dav”) all you want. But you guys are as big losers as BK’s teams are in big games. Take it like men and see the truth for what it is! This team SUCKS in big games. No one wets the bed like BK and his big crybabies!

  11. Call me a glutton for pain. Decided to watch start of third quarter and am repaid by Book being Book and throwing a horrible INT!

    BK’s biggest issue has been recruiting and developing a solid QB. Sure, Book has no WRs. That’s an issue with coaching, too!

  12. “Cobra Kai never dies!”

    Unlike BK and his teams!

    Just checked box score. Did Bama take knee the rest of the half?

    Here’s the problem from what I saw (while I was watching) and from what I see in the box score. ND has no QB or WRs on O and it has no CBs on D. They can’t pass or stop the pass. In today’s football (high school, college, and pro) you can’t win if you can’t pass downfield. You also need to make a few stops on D. BK doesn’t get it; Saban does!

    But let me restate for the thousandth time. This isn’t all on BK. He is limited by an administration that doesn’t care about winning and only wants to cash checks. BK sucks, don’t get me wrong. But not even Urban Meyer can win with this crew. I don’t want an Urban Meyer cheater. But the next coach needs some help from admissions or this will continue to be the result against elite teams.

    The soul-searching at ND is long overdue! Do they want to be a glorified Ivy League team or a real contender? I don’t know if a devout Catholic like Saban would be interested, but might be worth seeing if he wants a challenge to end his coaching career. Taking ND back to the summit would make him the game’s greatest legend. But not Saban or Meyer or any elite coach would consider ND with its handicaps.

  13. Doerer is 4 of 9 on his last 9 fog attempts. Just good awful. Notre Dame will not make any worthwhile Halftime adjustments. Alabama scores 35 unanswered points in 2nd half. Final 56-7

  14. The state of ND football:
    Brian Kelly the longest tenured coach in ND history.
    Ian Book the winningest QB in ND history.
    Lou Holtz exposed as a proud, bootlicking member of the Trump Traitors.

    1. All true!

      BTW: “Cobra Kai” season 3 on Netflix is a better watch than this game.

      Just checked my phone and see Bama scored again. They might just hit 60 id the Irish O doesn’t stay on the field for 10-minute drives!

      Lea getting exposed as another over-rated coach. But he has little talent to work with.

    2. “david,”

      Even the BK bootlickers seem to have abandoned this increasingly lame site.

      The ND admin is just fine collecting its fat Rose Bowl check. The final score is not important for them.

      Except that soon they will never, ever cash another one since this might well be the last time ND is invited to the POs even if they go 13-0! Even NY 6 bowls might say we don’t want these losers!

    1. Bama TD here and I’m done. Plan B time!

      This is a typical BK shit show from the get go, Jeff.

      The definition of insanity is to do the same things over and over and expect different results. This team is just so predictable. They never break their tendencies. They’re afraid of their own shadow in big games and the monsters eat them up. This is the loser mentality BK instills!

    2. Jeff,

      ND fans are stuck with BK for the next four seasons.

      That equals no chance at a NC for the foreseeable future.

      Again, the million-dollar question is what ND does next. Does it allow whomever replaces BK to actually recruit the kinds of players needed to win in today’s and tomorrow’s college ball?

      BK isn’t great, but no coach can win with ND’s admissions. I’m sure ND misses out on many marginal academic elite talent due to the egg heads in the Administration Building!

  15. Just got home from the golf course shot 79 at Morro Bay with one birdie that’s my plan B for the day now I got to watch this f***** up game. Alabama will win this game 58 to 10

      1. Bama might score 58 before HT, Jeff!

        ND needs to decide what to do after BK. Do they want to compete or continue to be just good but not great?

        BK will never be great or have great teams. 9-10 wins will be his team’s ceiling. They can beat second-tier teams and win second-tier bowls.

  16. Anybody else wish this game could be played in the actual Rose Bowl?

    Perhaps a West Coast trip would’ve helped ND.

  17. While based on history and NFL skill sets across Alabama team it’s highly likely Alabama beats ND , I believe ND will upset Alabama today. Simply put, ND has a very good O & D football team capable of beating any team any given day, and ND is due for a wake up the echoes game. Go Irish beat Bama!

    1. We can all hope and pray, newcomer!

      I just don’t agree that ND is very good at anything. The O line is usually over-rated. The D has not been lockdown with the exception of the UNC game against good Os. The STs have never been any good under BK and Polian.

      Like I said, I hope you’re right. But a ND win would be worthy of a Disney movie!

      GO IRISH!

  18. I hope not but I also think Notredame loses. I think around 45 to 28. I just dont think Notredame has the explosive playmakers to make the big chunk plays to win this game. I know I probably shouldn’t do this but I’m already looking to next year. A new d coordinator hire is critical. It’s going to be interesting to see what Notredame looks like next year on offense. This is where the big jump has to come if Notredame I’d ever going to beat the Alabamad, Clemsons, Ohio States of the world. Listening to Kelly on signing day it appears he I’d going to give Buchner as real chance to win the job. Maybe he looks to bring a tranfer quarterback in. I just dont understand Notredames receiving core. It seems they recruit some very highly rated recruits but they either dont play Jordan Johnson, Xavier Watts or they play very little and dont do much, Lenzy, Keys even Austin before he got hurt.

    1. Hey, Pete,

      How is that Michael Young couldn’t play at ND and is tearing up GA in the Peach Bowl? He looks better than any WR we have right now!

      Not playing talent is BK’s Achilles Heel. Wouldn’t you want PJ as your QB next season? Wouldn’t you want your young WRs to have more reps heading into 2021? Not blowing teams out that you should doesn’t help player development either.

      ND’s big problem player-wise is recruiting elite DBs, especially shutdown CBs. Until they can get CBs that are at least as good as your WRs ND will not be able to compete against the elites. Of course, you also need to continue to recruit to your strengths as well, ND. Let’s see if T. Buchner fixes the other big recruiting issue, namely, elite QB. And all recruits need development. Some of our position coaches just don’t seem able to do that. Which leads me to ND’s main problem.

      Its biggest, problem, however, is BK. He’s just not an elite coach. He can’t be expected to out-coach anyone. He wins because ND is usually just so much better than the teams they play. At least he’s no longer losing to sub-par opponents. Which means ND football will be good for 9 to 10 wins almost every season under BK. But it won’t win a NC with him as coach.

      As always, I hope I’m dead wrong. But until proven otherwise, I stand by what I’ve said for years.

      GO IRISH!

      1. No Rob you are spot on about Kelly not playing these young receivers. How do you explain Chis Tyree the fastest player coming out of high school last year and you give him 2 Carrys against Clemson. One carry going 24 yards for a touchdown. Also, if Im Kelly I’m on the phone tomorrow morning speaking with Marcus Freeman. They say he is a great recruiter and his defense is fundamentally sound. Finally even though I feel Tommy did very well this year if I’m Kelly I dump Del Alexander and hire a big time receivers coach. I wanted Kelly to pair Tommy up with Joe Morehead like Ogeron paired up Emminger with Joe Brady. Kelly will never do this but if I was him I’d try to bring in Gus Malzahn. He was a great offensive coordinator not so much a head coach. Auburn averaged 45 points a game. Of course he had a great college quarterback Cam Newton. He is very creative and he is uptempo petal to the metal.

  19. Sadly, Frankie V. finally joins the rest of us sane persons and gives a reasonable prediction.

    IF ND loses by 24 like Frankie V. predicts, or worse, the Irish will not see another PO game for a very, very long time. BK will have cemented his legacy as a second-tier coach who could never win the big one. It will be four more years of good to very good but never really great football in S. Bend.

    For those of us blessed to still be here after NY 2025, we’ll be talking about who we hope can coach the Irish back to the top. Do we double-dip on the UCinci coaching tree? Will Lea have earned his stripes at Vandy?

    I would love for all the above to be idle chatter and BK become a legendary coach, winning multiple titles over the next five-plus years. For that to happen, a miracle would have to take place today. This would be the biggest upset since the “Miracle on Ice”!


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