As is the case across the entire college football landscape at this time of year, excitement is running high in South Bend, Indiana as well.
New coach, new system, more experienced players and a slew of highly-touted newcomers will grace the grass at Notre Dame stadium starting in just a couple weeks as the Irish take on Purdue in the opener.
But every year, honestly, every year, the loudest and most over the top predictions flow from the mouth breathers that are the Notre Dame faithful. And for what? The once proud program can point to a single bowl victory, in the illustrious Hawaii Bowl in '08, as the high point in a disastrous decade of ineptitude and under-performance.
So before anyone starts etching their name in the BCS Championship trophy, allow me to point out some facts and offer some opinions that will prove that Notre Dame will again disappoint in 2010.
ND is just 35-27 in the past five seasons, posting just one low-level bowl win. Of the 35 wins since the 2005 season, just four have come against ranked opponents; three of them in the '05 season. In fact, the Irish haven't beaten a ranked opponent in four seasons.
The Irish will most probably face three ranked teams this season (Utah, Stanford, Pittsburgh) along with USC (not ranked due to penalties, but would be otherwise) and potentially one other (Michigan State). You can mark down four in the loss column.
ND is just 19-14 straight-up at home since 2005. As mentioned, none of the 19 wins were against ranked opponents. Included in the 19 were wins against the likes of San Diego St., Duke, Air Force, Nevada, Army, Navy, and Syracuse.
The shine is off the sneaker. No longer are teams in awe of playing the Irish at home; the results speak for themselves. Even with one of the most favorable schedules this side of Ohio State and Texas, it's not going to amount to much.
ND returns just five starters on offense and will be breaking in a new HC, Brian Kelly, who apparently believed the ND job provided a better career opportunity then staying at Cincinnati in the eight-team Big East.
As in the past, the ND faithful have been lured into thinking their talent pipeline was overflowing. Long past are the days of the Irish simply reloading, as premier programs do, and these newcomers will struggle mightily once the lights come on for real. While everyone recognizes Kelly's successful ascent, it's too much to ask of a rookie HC to lead ND to any more than a 6-6 record in his first season.
I have absolutely no personal axe to grind against the Irish. But the constant hyperbole from ND pundits is, again, well mitigated by the historical facts and honest assessment.