The September air is starting to cool in South Bend meaning only one thing, global warming!
Oh wait, sorry I got confused, College Football is here ladies and gentlemen!
A year removed from a disappointing 6-6 season, a new coach with a new identity, and a renewed sense of optimism shakes the echoes inside Notre Dame Stadium. In a short 48 hours, 80,794 fans, along with myself, will crowd into the historic stadium to see a new era unfold before our very eyes.
For the first time however, I will enter Notre Dame Stadium not wearing the Blue and Gold, but rather supporting my school, Purdue. Regardless of allegiances for the game, a Notre Dame victory is nothing I root against.
Here I want to point out my keys to a Notre Dame victory, and potentially starting off with a bang against the Boilers.
Key No. 1: Preseason Biletnikoff Favorite, Michael Floyd
The shadow of 2009 winner Golden Tate is now gone and in Seattle. The hype that Floyd brought in from high school showed to be true when he re-wrote Notre Dame Freshman records for a receiver in 2008.
However, if Notre Dame wants to be successful in the passing game, they are going to have to find No. 3 early and often.
Key No. 2: Purdue's Inexperience in the Secondary
There has been no secret in the weakness that Purdue will face in their defense this season. The Boilermakers are replacing all four starters in the secondary, which should be the point of attack by Brian Kelly early Saturday.
It's no secret that I have been unimpressed by AA and the production of Notre Dame's running back group in recent seasons, but Purdue's front seven are going to be coming in strong Saturday knowing that they have to put pressure and help out the secondary.
We should get to see what Dayne Crist is made of early, hopefully seeing him make some strong throws down-field to test the young secondary.
Key No. 3: Purdue's New Faces on Offense
Yes, this key may sound deceiving, but Purdue is going to have a very new look to them on offense in 2010.
Robert Marve is coming in with a lot of hope/hype to potentially be the next member of the "Cradle of Quarterbacks" at Purdue. Running back Ralph Bolden is out indefinitely with a torn ACL that should sideline him until late in Big Ten play. The Boilermakers are replacing three starters on the offensive line as well.
However, they still have Keith Smith, All-Big 10 First Team selection, who led the Big Ten in receptions and yards last season. New faces normally means struggles early, but Marve has had a whole year running this offense in practice, the loss of Bolden means Purdue will come up firing through the air.
Notre Dame should be able to keep a few extra guys in coverage to help compensate and stop the aerial attack that I think will be coming.
However I have one more key to this game and season that everyone around Notre Dame should know and realize.
Key No. 4: We have Brian Kelly
Kelly is a winner, period.
He is the right guy for this job and is going to do great things with this team. The one thing I fear is that he will slip up in an early game and people will turn. Notre Dame Nation relax, Kelly is going to do great things and potentially get Notre Dame back to the promised land.
Look for a more conservative defense that isn't going to try to confuse others while confusing themselves, and look for a up-tempo offense that is going to keep the defense on their heels.
Overall at the end of the day Notre Dame marches out a solid 1-0, defeating Purdue 31-20.
Tim Tebow references per half, over/under is 4.5