Jeff Baumhower (Co-Publisher/Recruiting Analyst): Navy has two close loses and in one of them, against Maryland, they thoroughly outplayed their opponent.
At first glance, this Navy team doesn't appear to be on par with the Naval Academy teams over the past several years, but don't the two losses on their schedule fool you.
This is a very dangerous team, one with a lot of confidence, not only that they hang with Notre Dame, but also beat the Irish. There shouldn't be any real surprises about what Navy will attempt to do… Option, option, option.
In this game, the underappreciated Notre Dame defensive line is the difference as they're able to slow down the Navy offense. Notre Dame 31 Navy 13
Dave Berk (Scout.com/IrishEyes Staff): Trust me when I say the Irish have done extra work in their prep for Navy. Brian Kelly knows all too well the Midshipmen can pose a problem to the Irish defense and has given ample time in making sure his team will be well prepared for their annual battle. Navy can score points and I fully expect Brian Kelly to rev up the Irish offense despite injuries. Kelly knows a loss here will have fans feeling nothing has changed from a season ago, so I fully expect an Irish victory 37-23 moving Notre Dame to 5-3 on the season.
Morrissey79 (Moderator): While Navy has struggled this year, they are still the same group of kids that have a lot of heart and give great effort. They take great pride in playing ND tough, but I also know Kelly understands the importance of imposing our will upon the Midshipmen. Losing to Navy (twice) is arguably one of the main things that ended Weis' tenure at ND - Kelly will not let this happen.
Navy will run the ball fairly well, but our defense will continue to be stingy in the red zone and force Navy into a couple 3rd and longs that lead to punts. The key is the defense has to get off the field and the offense cannot have short possessions. This game is really going to test Dayne's maturation as he must be accurate, specifically on first down, to make sure we don't put ourselves into any 3 and outs.
Look for Wood to have another big game, and personally I think Hughes has earned some snaps after last week's strong 4th quarter. He has the size and skill to run on this undersized defense. ND 31 Navy 16
KurzND (Moderator): The past few years has been embarrassing with even the Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo said ND did what they expected them to do and not change. Well that is over. If some thing is not work Diaco is not too proud to change it up. Even with a banged up offense ND will score more than enough to win. Notre Dame 31 Navy 21
Weisass (Moderator): It's that time once again for the Irish to pay their respects to the men and women of the Navy. It has been a one sided affair for most of the series but Navy has become a thorn in the side as of late. Weis seemed to struggle against the Navy play calling we can only hope that Kelly can get the series and the Irish back in the right direction. ND 28 Navy 17
BNolan (Moderator): Navy will play tough, as usual, but we will once again sink the Midshipmen. Obviously ND's offense is hindered by some significant injuries, so I don't expect fireworks. The defense should be up to playing the frustrating Navy offense better than recent years, our interior linemen are better, the outside linemen/linebackers need to contain, and the interior linebackers need to be the thumpers they can be. ND 27 Navy 13
SeattleND (Moderator): ND won't be at full strength for the Midshipmen but the single biggest hole might be that left by Jamoris Slaughter rather than anyone on offense. If the offensive line and Cierre Wood pick up from the third quarter of the WMU game and our safeties and outside linebackers can play solid assignment football, ND should win this, but multiple three and outs in this game from our offense will keep it too close for comfort.
Ian Williams is much stronger this year and has scheme he believes in to work with against the Navy fullbacks, and if you stop their fullback you pretty much stop them. This would be a great time for the coming out parties of Bennett Jackson and TJ Jones. Dayne has to avoid the temptation of trying to step up in this game and just manage his playmakers. ND 28 Navy 13
GaviND (Moderator): For the last year, my text message inbox has been inundated with one name: Vince Murray. In fact, in fantasy sports leagues filled with ND haters, I had one friend name his team "#47" just so people would have to inquire as to what the name meant. Upon being asked, my friend would explain that "#47 was the number of the slow chugging train that was made to look like Barry Sanders through a porous Irish defense in 2009.
Coach Brian Kelly has admitted in recent weeks that time has been spent on the Navy offensive scheme and the head coach seems hell bent on NOT being the next Irish coach to lose to the Naval Academy; and he won't be...at least this year!
Expect the Irish to continue their bend but don't break philosophy against Ken Niumatalolo's trickery-laden offense. Navy will get their yards and will score a few points, but it will not be enough as the Irish offense will still put up 30 points in spite of the notable absences of Kyle Rudolph, Theo Riddick and possibly even Michael Floyd. Sophomores Cierre Wood and Tyler Eifert will look to continue their hot play and Bennett Jackson will emerge to show that he is more than just a special teams ace! ND 31 Navy 17