#1: Notre Dame is Turnover Prone
The Fighting Irish are currently ranked 119th in the country in the turnover department. They have lost 10 fumbles and thrown 8 interceptions. The law of averages suggests that they will give it away at least once on Saturday. If Navy can convert one of them into points, they will be in business.
Ok, not really, at least not at this point, but Navy fans had to be a little excited to see Miller's passing ability against East Carolina. In order to beat a superior team like Notre Dame, Navy HAS to hit at least 3 or 4 big passes. And for my money, I'm glad to see Miller doing the passing. I will be shocked if Navy doesn't throw the ball early and often.
#3: Alexander Teich is overdue for a monster game
If Navy is going to find a way to turn this season around, on offense, it has to start with Teich. His best 30 minutes of football came in the second half against Air Force when he wore the Falcons defense down. Is it me or does that seem like ages ago? No doubt stopping him will be priority #1 for the Irish after getting torched last year for over 200 yards by Teich. However, I think he will be up for the challenge.
#4: Navy likes to play close games
The Southern Mississippi debacle aside, Navy for some reason likes giving their fans mild heart attacks more often than not. Against Notre Dame, executing in the red zone in the first half will probably determine whether or not this game will be interesting in the final minutes. But for Navy fans, close games are pretty much what they have come to expect.
#5: Jon Teague will get back on track
The Navy senior has too strong of a leg and is just too talented not to get out of his current streak of unfortunate kicks. Add to that the fact that Notre Dame isn't really known for their superior special teams play, and I think there is a good chance that Teague will come through for the Mids in South Bend.
#6: Navy's defense can't play any worse
All indications point to the Irish pretty much being able to do anything they want while they have the ball. Every position battle, with the exception of Jabaree Tuani is a complete mismatch in favor of Notre Dame. I mean who exactly is going to cover Michael Floyd? And running back Cierre Wood will be the best running back not named Lattimore who the Mids will face this season. I think if Navy can get a break to go their way early, the defense may get something they have been missing all season – confidence. It happened on the goal line last season against Notre Dame in their first drive and it set the stage for a remarkable defensive performance.
#7: USC beating Notre Dame was the best thing that could have happened
What exactly are the Irish playing for on Saturday? They are 4-3 and destined for some mid-tier bowl unless they can find a way to upset Stanford in late November. Gone are the hopes of a BCS berth and now the focus turns to their head coach who, if he loses to Navy, may be on his way out in only his second season.
#8: Navy knows how to beat Notre Dame
The magic formula that eluded the Midshipmen for 43 years is no longer a secret. They have not only beaten the Irish three of the last four years, but the loss in that streak was as close as they come. If you go by just recent history, a 20-point blowout would go against it.
#9: Notre Dame's blowout of Air Force doesn't mean anything
Even though Notre Dame easily beat the Falcons, Air Force still managed to put up nearly 600 yards of offense. So I think it is safe to say that they still haven't quite figured out how to stop a triple option attack. Seeing what changes, if any, that the Irish made since last playing the Mids, can only help Ivin Jasper more in his preparation.
#10: Navy has nothing to lose
In a typical year, nobody ever expects the Midshipmen to beat the Irish. This year, nobody expects Navy to be within three touchdowns. In a strange way I think the loss to East Carolina will relax the Midshipmen a bit more. This isn't a must-win game for them. Could it turn their season around if they do? Sure…but their backs officially don't go up against the wall until they have six losses. Everything after that point becomes a must-win game for bowl eligibility. The pressure is on Notre Dame and Brian Kelly.
David Ausiello's Navy football predictions record: 3-4
David Ausiello's Yahoo Sports predictions (ATS): 122-85
My prediction: Notre Dame 35, Navy 34. (Notre Dame wins when Navy fails to convert a failed 2-point conversion.)