Season Predictions: Notre Dame Football (Temple, Georgia, Boston College, Michigan State)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 31: KeiVarae Russell /

Notre Dame football kicks off their 2017 campaign on Saturday against Temple

Over the next few days, Slap the Sign will review the entire season game-by-game and make predictions for each. Today, the contests against Temple, Georgia, Boston College and Michigan State step into the forefront.

Temple Owls – 2016 Record: 10-4 (American Conference Champion)

This season marks the transition between Matt Rhule and new Head Coach Geoff Collins. The Owls also transition 14 new starters into the lineup as they only return 8. They lost Quarterback Phillip Walker and 1st Round pick Haason Reddick.

The Owls return a culture that won double-digit contests over the past year. Despite losing talent, this team knows how to prepare, practice and compete. Notre Dame may face a tougher battle than some anticipate.

Notre Dame should overwhelm the Owls with talent but the score (score prediction later this week) hovers closer to the 2013 Notre Dame-Temple contest where the Irish prevailed 28-6.

Prediction: WIN

Georgia Bulldogs – 2016 Record: 8-5

2nd year Head Coach Kirby Smart returns 17 starters including Running Back Nick Chubb and Quarterback Jacob Eason. The Bulldogs appear primed to make a huge jump in their second year under Smart.

Voters believe so as well. The Bulldogs rank as the 15th team in the country in the USA Today and AP Polls.

Notre Dame faces a huge test immediately against Georgia. They arguably represent the toughest team on Notre Dame’s schedule. Add in that this is the 2nd game for the Irish and the task becomes even more difficult.

Prediction: LOSS

Boston College – 2016 Record: 7-6

The Eagles return 17 starters from a 7-6 squad. Boston College defeated Maryland in the Quick Lane last December.

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Boston College’s defense features perhaps the best player on Notre Dame’s schedule, Defensive End Harold Landry. Recently, Sports Illustrated listed Landry as the 9th best player in college football. Landry ranked highest among Notre Dame opponents.

The amount of returning starters, a decent 2016 record and one of the best players in college football add up to a team ready to breakout. However, Boston College’s wins came against 1 FCS team, 3 Group of 5 teams and 3 teams that played in bowl games.

This game appears to have the makings of an ugly one, win or lose.

Prediction: WIN

Michigan State – 2016 Record: 3-9

Mark Dantonio and Michigan State suffered a disastrous 2016 campaign and an even worse off-season. Dantonio dismissed 2 former highly touted recruits, Wide Receiver Donnie Corley and Defensive End Josh King due to sexual assault allegations. In addition to these dismissals, the Spartans only return 5 starters.

Michigan State under Mark Dantonio made it to a bowl game in every season except 2016. History says the Spartans bounce back in 2017. However, the lack of returning starters and off-season distractions doom Michigan State’s 2017 campaign and possibly Dantonio.

Prediction: WIN

Next: Brian Kelly Needs Eight Wins to Return as Coach in 2018