If you've been watching ESPN this offseason, you may have noticed wide ranging "opinions" voiced by different "college football analysts" about Notre Dame.
The worldwide leader in hedged bets, I told you sos, kicking ND when they're down, and fellating them when they're up, has been setting ND up as either a Cinderella story, or a huge dissapointment that they couldn't help but see coming.
The reality is, no one knows exactly what kind of team ND will be this year. No other team in the nation could go so far in either direction. What is certain, is that 12-0, or 6-6, ESPN will be there profit from their brilliant prognostications.
Thanks to the eternal battle between the two races of people in the world, those who love ND, and those who hate ND, all eyes will be on the Irish when they square off with Nevada on Sept. 5, to see what this years edition has to offer.
Should the Irish struggle out of the gate, ESPN will have plenty of "Charlie Weis Hot Seat" material prepared, just in case. Wilbon, Stephen A. Smith, and the insufferable Mark May will again play the race card, comparing Weis' tenure to that of the incomparable Tyrone Willingham, who has since proven with another program to be the coaching equivalent of the SMU Death Penalty.
Seriously, if the NCAA does ever hit USC with that Lack of Institutional Control charge we've all been waiting for, making them hire Willingham seems like the perfect penance.
More likely, ND comes out and ROLLS against the Wolfpack. Whether people are actually afraid of Nevada, or are trying to give more credibility to ND's admittedly manageable schedule, I can't figure out, but this game has 52-7 written all over it. The Wolfpack have a potent, gimmicky offense that puts up a lot of points in the WAC, but matches up horribly against Notre Dame.
There is no receiver on the Nevada roster that would cause problems for ND's 5th cornerback, much less their top two. Jon Tenuta will keep eight in the box, blitzing early and often, making life miserable for Qb Colin Kaepernick.
The undersized Nevada lineman rely on quickness and execution for their zone reads and veer option running attack, and that plays right into the strength of this year's Irish Defense: Speed.
A little later in the season, and Nevada might be able to prepare better for Tenuta's scheme's, and know a little better where the heat will be coming from on ND's young defensive line. A week one matchup does not bode well for the 'Pack.
Which brings us to the Nevada Defense: 91st in total, 99th in scoring, and dead last, 119th in passing D in 2008. They will be lining up against the best WR tandem in the Nation in Golden Tate and Mike Floyd, and 6'7" future Mackey award winning tight end Kyle Rudolph. If you thought Clausen lit it up on Christmas Eve, wait til you see him in six weeks. Expect 400 plus yards, and another five TDs.
Thanks to the ESPN highlight reel airing 38 thousand times per day, ND will rise about ten spots in the AP rankings, and Jimmy Clausen will be thrust into Heisman candidacy. From there, it will be up to young Jimmy to earn the Heisman where it was meant to be won: On Sportscenter.