Notre Dame football has fallen on hard times the last few year but 2009 has the Irish thinking and dreaming big. Some around the program are even talking quietly that they could sneak up and make a BCS Championship Run. Experts are all over the place on predictions for this years 2009 team. Lead Sports Handicapper of CT SPORT PICKS Craig Trapp will take a swing at predicting the future for Notre Dame football in 2009.
Pretty hard to imagine after a loss to the lowly Syracuse Orangemen that even the biggest Notre Dame fan would predict more than 9 wins this year. But the truth is that the offense will be explosive and the defense has added a ton of speed. Also a favorable schedule in 2009 could see this team make a quantum leap forward.
Coach Charlie Weiss was always thought of as a genius until the last two years. Coaches don't forget how to coach and this season you will see this offense put up a ton more points. Quarterback Jimmy Clausen is now in his third season and if you break down the 2008 season you will see that he really improved throughout the season. Also he has a ton of weapons at his disposal led by TE Kyle Rudolph and WR Golden Tate. If Clausen can cut down on his 17 interceptions of last season you might even be able to talk of Clausen for Heisman. He has all the weapons, a good schedule, and all the physical talent to lead this team to success.
Defensively this team must improve to be able to put this team in the elite College Football team. A far faster defense that doesn't quite resemble anything yet seen in the Weis era. Defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta loves to be aggressive and he wants to blitz from several different angles, but last year he didn't necessarily have the athletes in place and he didn't have the experienced players to do exactly what he wanted to. This year, with the defense going to a 4-3 from last year's 3-4, there's an abundance of really good, really talented linebackers for Tenuta to send after quarterbacks, and he has the secondary in place to handle the pressure of being left out to dry.
This years team will get a huge boost this year with a very easy schedule. Considering that most likely they will only play three ranked teams all year and only one of those will be on the road. As always this years season will come down to there rivalry matchup at home against USC. Looking at there schedule you would have have to think they will be 5-0 before the huge USC game. After that game only at Pittsburgh and Boston College at home should give them any problem.
Craig really has bought into the hype of the 2009 Notre Dame football team. ND will go 10-2 only losing to USC and Boston College in 2009. A big money New Years Eve Bowl game is definitely on this teams horizon most likely the Fiesta Bowl. Who knows they might pull a huge upset of USC and then this team could even have an outside chance at sneaking into the BCS title game.