Notre Dame Football
The BCS-era was forgettable for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame lost every BCS-bowl game they participated in (2001 Fiesta, 2005 Fiesta, 2006 Sugar, 2012 National Title). Will the College Football Playoff hold a different fate for the Irish?
In 2014, the Irish have some question marks on Defense. The Offense is talented but unproven. The College Football Playoffs are probably not in the plans for the 2014 team. However, the Irish will probably play in the College Football Playoffs in 2015.
Of the players that will start for the Fighting Irish in 2014, 18 of them have remaining eligibility in 2015 (Collinsworth, Koyack, Lombard and Williams do not). In some circumstances, graduation of players may actually be addition by subtraction. If experience is the weakness for the team in 2014, it will be the strength for the Irish in 2015.
Additionally, the schedule may be favorable if Texas and Clemson are not Top 10 powerhouses. If they are powerhouses, the Irish could add to a possible playoff resume with victories.
If the Offense is as good as people believe it will be in 2014, it will only be better in 2015. Golson along with a wealth of talent could be a Heisman candidate.
The Defense will be the key. The Irish should be more familiar with the Brian VanGorder scheme. The Front 7 will be improved by the growth of then-Sophomores, now-Freshman to-be players like Jay Hayes.
Recruiting is an unknown in this equation. If Notre Dame were to sign a player who could make an impact along the Defensive Line, this would give the Irish an even better shot at fighting for a playoff slot.
As stated, the combination of talent and experience gives the Irish an almost guaranteed shot at landing in the 2015 College Football Playoffs. But, as fans saw in 2012, it takes more than talent and experience to reach such heights. It also takes some luck.