Avoiding the Post-Navy Slump
Last week in the storylines article for Navy, I mentioned that they always give the Irish fits and play us well. They run an out-dated offense that is a pain to prepare for and play a style of football that takes a toll on the body after four quarters of play. This translates to a sluggish performance the following week. Guys banged up, going back to preparing for a more conventional offense after tackling the dive 200 times the week prior — there is certainly an adjustment that needs to be made.
Over the last eight seasons, in the game following Navy, the Irish are 4-4 with two of those wins being by seven and three points. After the 2015 victory over Navy, Notre Dame went on to lose their last four games and had their season completely derailed.
I’m not suggesting Navy puts some sort of curse on the Irish, but the numbers suggest Notre Dame does struggle more often than not in the game following Navy. Couple this with the cross-country travel to and from San Diego, and the flags are there for this to be a sluggish performance based on recent history.
Maybe I’m putting too much stock in what could just be a coincidence, or maybe the post-Navy slump is a real thing to watch for. The good news is Notre Dame has done a great job of breaking previous tendencies and patterns this year. Winning the big game in primetime (on three separate occasions now), taking down Stanford, and winning on the West Coast have all been a nice change from the usual status quo.
While Notre Dame has struggled in games following Navy in recent years, this is a different team that understands the end goal of the season and how to get there. The Irish should win convincingly, but a slow start or sluggish performance is still something to watch for Saturday.