CN: I’m predicting 11-1 with a loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. That’s never an easy place to play. Obviously, I am expecting Notre Dame to be in the playoff discussion with only a close loss in a tough atmosphere.
CM: Pessimists see 8-4, realists see 9-3 or 10-2, and optimists see 11-1 or 12-0. I’m a realist and see 10-2. The Irish will lose their first game of the season at Virginia Tech. As much as I want to say we’ll win, I can’t expect them to win on the road in an environment like that after the Miami game last season. Florida State will be a close game, but it’s an early November game after playing a tough Northwestern team on the road the week prior. That’s a perfect set up for Notre Dame to drop the ball late in the season.
JS: I‘ve gone back and forth on this, but I have them at 10-2 with a loss at Virginia Tech and against one other opponent. It could be Michigan, Stanford, Florida State, USC — even Northwestern or Navy. I just think this is one of the toughest schedules in the country week in, week out. Getting to double-digits in the win column will be a solid accomplishment.
SM: 11-1 with a loss to Navy. Maybe I am crazy, but I love the team this year. However, I feel they’ll lose a game they shouldn’t. Obviously, Michigan, USC and Stanford don’t fit that bill,. but Navy certainly does.
NE: The more I look at this schedule, the easier I think it is. That said — with a stretch to end the season with five of the last seven away from home — I don’t have the confidence in the Irish to win double digit regular season games. This is mostly due to poor scheduling. They finish the season with two trips to California (Navy and USC), a trip to New York City (Syracuse) and road games against Northwestern and Virginia Tech. However, I feel this team is too talented to lose more than three. Losses will occur at home to Stanford, at Virginia Tech and at USC to finish the season. 9-3 is how the Irish will finish.