Notre Dame Football: Predicting How Fighting Irish Will Fare in Last 3 Games

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 03: Everett Golson  #5, Braxston Cave #52 and Justin Utupo #53 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate after Golson ran for the game-winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Notre Dame Stadium on November 3, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Pittsburgh 29-26 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are just three wins away from completing their first perfect regular season since 1988.

The road to 9-0 has not always been smooth, especially last week against Pittsburgh, but style points don't count for a whole lot as long as the record looks good. But there is still a lot of work to be done. 

We could argue that the hard part of the Irish schedule ended after Oklahoma, though we should know better than to sell anyone short in college football. This is a sport where upsets happen on a weekly basis, so complacency does not do anyone any good.  

Here is a look ahead to how we believe Notre Dame will fare in its final three regular-season games before we know their BCS fate. 


November 10 at Boston College Eagles (2-7, 1-5 in ACC)

Notable BC Stats: 27th in Passing Yards (289.2), 87th in Points Allowed (30.9)

The Eagles are a team that has to air it out because they are usually behind by a lot, so their passing stats skew to make them look a little bit better than they actually are. Quarterback Chase Rettig is coming off a game against Wake Forest where he threw three interceptions. 

This game is going to come down to Notre Dame controlling the clock. The Irish defense is not going to give Boston College's offense any room to breathe. Pitt was able to control the pace of the game by running the ball, but the Eagles are not a good ground team. 

Last week's game was a wake-up call for the Irish, so expect to see them on top of their game in this battle. 

Notre Dame 31, Boston College 10


November 17 vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-4, 3-4 in ACC)

Notable Wake Forest Stats: 86th in Passing Yards (211.2), 99th in Points Scored (21.7)

Yet another middling ACC school for the Fighting Irish, Wake Forest has played just two ranked teams this season (Florida State and Clemson) and has been outscored 94-13. 

The Demon Deacons did defeat Boston College, 28-14, if you are looking for a common opponent to compare Notre Dame and Wake Forest too.

Unfortunately for the Demon Deacons, it is going to take a lot more than a strong showing against a bad Boston College team to compete with Notre Dame. They just don't move the ball well enough on the ground or through the air to make this a close game. 

Unless Everett Golson turns the ball over, which has happened on more than one occasion this season, it is hard to see the Irish not steamrolling Wake Forest. 

One interesting stat, courtesy of Matt Fortuna of, is that the Irish have turned the ball over 11 times this season, including 10 at home. Just a little something to watch for, at least early in this game. 

Notre Dame 24, Wake Forest 13


November 24 at USC Trojans (6-3, 4-3 in Pac-12)

Notable USC Stats: 17th in Passing Yards (312.7), 24th in Points Scored (36.8)

Here is the game that Irish fans have had circled on their calendars since they got past Oklahoma two weeks ago. This would appear to be the one game standing between them and perfection. 

USC, assuming it doesn't suffer another loss between now and November 24, will be the fifth-ranked team the Irish have played at the time of the game. 

This has been an extremely inconsistent Trojans team. The offense has had moments of brilliance, but it has been too few and far between. The defense does nothing to inspire confidence. 

Even if you take out last week's 62-point outburst from Oregon, the Trojans have allowed teams like Syracuse (29 points), Utah (28) and Arizona (39) to torch them. 

The Irish have built a team that finds a weakness and exploits it to no end. They remind me a lot of the San Francisco 49ers from last season: Incredible defense with an offense that is good enough when it has to be. 

Brian Kelly's defense feasts on teams that love to pass the ball. Case in point: Oklahoma. The Sooners are one of the best passing teams in the country, but against Notre Dame, Landry Jones couldn't break through that wall to find the end zone. 

Unless Matt Barkley and Lane Kiffin see a hole that no one else has gone through, this figures to be a very good day for Notre Dame.

Rivalry games are always difficult to predict because so many things that you can't forecast tend to happen. That said, this Notre Dame team has earned its reputation and will prove itself one more time in the regular-season finale. 

Notre Dame 27, USC 21


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