Category Archives: Notre Dame’s Faint Echoes

When Irish eyes are leaving

Man, Notre Dame’s got a few key bodies to replace this season.

The Irish have some big shoes to fill when it comes to the offensive skill positions. Leading rusher Dexter Williams is no longer around after falling just short of 1,000 yards a year ago. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry and scored 12 touchdowns.

Notre Dame also has to replace two of its top four pass catchers from a season ago, a problem UGA is familiar with. The team’s leading receiver, Miles Boykin, was taken in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens and showed the NFL Combine that he’s a tremendous talent at 6-foot-4 220 pounds. Athletic tight end Alize Jones is also gone.

The Fighting Irish return four starters on the offensive line from a year ago. Last year’s right guard, Trevor Ruhland, will likely move over to center to replace Sam Mustipher.

There are also some major losses on the defensive side, where Notre Dame loses two of its most active linebackers, it’s best cornerback, and its best defensive tackle.

Te’Von Coney was the Irish’s leading tackler in 2018 with 123 stops. He also had 9.5 tackles for a loss and was one of the unit’s biggest leaders. Drue Tranquill, the team’s third-leading tackler, was also a key performer. He had an interception against Georgia in 2017 and racked up 86 stops in his final season with the program. He was taken in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers.

Cornerback Julian Love, who was a finalist for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, elected to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft after a strong junior campaign. He was taken in the fourth round of the draft by New York where he’ll join Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker, the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award and first-round pick.’

Maybe Notre Dame’s biggest loss on either side of the ball, however, is defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. The Los Angeles Chargers took him with the No. 28 overall pick in the draft and the 6-foot-6 295-pound defender was almost unblockable in his final college season. He had 30 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, five quarterback hurries, and three forced fumbles while consistently fighting double-team blocks.

Notre Dame also has to replace punter Tyler Newsome and place-kicker Justin Yoon.

Ian Book is back at quarterback, and so is most of his o-line, so it’s not all gloom and doom for the Irish.  But that’s a lot of talent gone, at almost every level.

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Turnabout is fair play.

Been there, done that, Notre Dame fans.

Although Notre Dame’s Sept. 21 visit to Georgia is still four months away, the game is already shaping up as an all-timer from a demand standpoint. No game on the 2019 college football schedule is fetching a higher ticket price on the secondary market than the Fighting Irish’s first-ever trip to Sanford Stadium.

The cheapest seats available on VividSeats.com on Tuesday evening ran a cool $407, and that was to sit in the 600 level in the upper reaches of the 92,746-seat stadium. That asking price was $130 more than that for the next-closest game – the cheapest seats for Alabama at Auburn were $277 – and yet some sellers are asking far more for their tickets to see the Bulldogs host the Golden Domers. Of the 273 individual seats or sets of tickets for sale on Vivid Seats’ site Tuesday, 115 sellers (or 42%) were asking for $1,000 or more per seat.

Hey, the Braves are in town, too!  Maybe y’all can get together and take over SunTrust Park for a night while you’re here.

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UPDATE:  You heard it here first.

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The suspense is killing me.

Be forewarned, college football world.  The Notre Dame-Georgia game could be ugly, sez the AJ-C’s Connor Riley, because… well, because a troll’s gotta troll.

Factor in the potential for bad blood stemming from last year’s College Football Playoff, and there’s a chance that it might be one of the biggest games in Sanford Stadium in quite some time.

Yeah, if it hadn’t been for some of Georgia’s players noting that ‘Bama Clemson rolled the Irish last year, hardly anyone would pay attention.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

Context, strength of schedule edition

In his preview, Bill Connelly thinks pretty highly of Notre Dame.  Some examples of that:

  • The header reads, “Can Notre Dame gain any ground on Clemson and Bama?”
  • The sub-header reads, “Brian Kelly’s building a case to perhaps be considered the most successful coach outside the top two.”
  • “Mind you, they’ll likely be a top-15 team again.”
  • “… they’re perhaps just an upset or two away from a return to the Playoff.”
  • “Per S&P+, the Irish are double-digit favorites in nine games…”

The finish to that last quote?  “… and a two-touchdown underdog at Georgia.”

Maybe we should be asking if Notre Dame can gain any ground on the Dawgs.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Stats Geek!

Maybe it’s early…

… but should we talk about the Notre Dame game a little now?  Here’s what Brett McMurphy has to say about it.

No. 1 – Notre Dame at Georgia, Sept. 21
Projected point spread: Georgia -10.5

The last time Notre Dame faced a team from the South, it wasn’t pretty (Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3 in last year’s Cotton Bowl). This game, pitting a pair of top 10 teams, will have huge College Football Playoff implications. While a loss won’t eliminate the loser from playoff contention, they would likely have to run the table the rest of the way since we’ve never had a two-loss team in the five-year history of the playoff.

Last year, Notre Dame’s defense surrendered its fewest yards since the 2012 team that reached the BCS title game. Six starters return off that unit, which will be tested by quarterback Jake Fromm and running back D’Andre Swift. The Bulldogs return 15 starters, 11 of which were freshmen or sophomores last season.

Notre Dame’s offense made huge strides when Ian Book replaced Brandon Wimbush as starting quarterback four weeks into last season. The Irish averaged 37 points a contest over their final nine games until Clemson held Notre Dame to three points.

This is a rematch of the 2017 contest in South Bend, won by Georgia 20-19 (in Fromm’s second career start, while Wimbush attempted a career-high 40 passes) on its way to reaching the College Football Playoff championship game. This will be Georgia’s biggest home non-conference contest since hosting Clemson between the hedges to open the 2014 season.

The first thing that catches your eye is that double-digit point spread over a team that just played in the CFP.  The second thing is the Clemson comparison.  Yeah, I know it’s a different season and all that, but that’s an easy narrative to hatch and we all know how the national media loves itself an easy Georgia narrative.

This game will get plenty of attention as it gets closer.  The 2017 road win jump started the Dawgs’ run towards their national title game appearance.  Will a 2019 win do the same?

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We’re cuckoo for Notre Dame tix.

Crazy, man, crazy:

Stunning, for sure.  For all the sneering we do about Notre Dame being overrated these days, our wallets seem to be telling another story.

Meanwhile, Greg McGarity wishes there was someway B-M could tap into that sweet, sweet secondary market for itself.

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“What interest does everyone else have in supporting that legislation?”

C’mon, Notre Dame.

In lieu of playing in a conference championship game, Notre Dame would gladly add a 13th game to its schedule if the NCAA would allow it, Fighting Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick said on Sunday at the College Football Playoff.

“We would love the opportunity to play a 13th game to take that issue off the table,” he told ESPN. “Nothing would make us happier.”

Swarbrick said he has spoken to NCAA officials about it “a little bit” but acknowledged the difficulty in changing a rule that impacts the majority of its membership. The NCAA limits teams to 12 regular-season games, plus a conference championship game if they qualify.

The Irish are already halfway in the ACC.  Occam’s razor suggests a much easier solution to Swarbrick’s problem than carving out a special exception.

I didn’t think it would be possible to come up with a scenario where most people would dislike Notre Dame’s place in the college football world even more than the one it already occupies, but never underestimate athletic directors, I suppose.

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