Click here for Part I and a review of Predictions #1 through #13 with the conclusion of our series detailed below.
Prediction #14 -- Fewer Touchdowns Scored: Spot-on, with the 2011 squad scoring 46 offensive touchdowns (50 overall) compared to this year' s undefeated squad's 35 offensive touchdowns (36 total). As explained at the link below, last year's total was inflated by three games (Air Force, Navy, and Maryland) vs. teams with new-level terrible defenses. The Irish never faced such a group in 2012.
Prediction #15 -- Michigan State Lowest Scoring Game: 23 total points was the second-lowest of the season behind the 19 scored between Notre Dame and Michigan, but the spirit of the prediction called for the lowest point total by the winning team and though this Week Three contest was played close to the vest as predicted, four others (Purdue, Michigan, Brigham Young, and Stanford in regulation) produced fewer points by the winning team, which was the crux of the prediction.
Prediction #16 -- Shembo Will Lead the Team in Sacks: He'll finish second, as the junior enters January 7th's title tilt vs. Alabama a full 4.5 sacks behind sophomore breakout star Stephon Tuitt, 12 to 7.5.
Click here for Predictions 14-15-16
Prediction #17 -- Highest Scoring Game (Oklahoma): The season-opening 50-10 beat down of Navy finished first, with the late-October battle in Norman producing just 43 total points (30 by the Irish), fourth behind the game with Navy (60) Pittsburgh (52, 12 scored in overtime) and Miami (44).
Prediction #18 -- 30-point Threshold: One of two laughingly off-base predictions among the set of 25 (the other is below)) as I predicted three teams would hit for 30 vs. the Irish defense. Instead, no teams scored more than 23 points vs. Notre Dame, nor more than 17 in regulation.
Prediction #19 -- Close and Late: The official prediction was that eight of the team's 12 games would be played to within a one score (8 points) margin. Instead, just five were in doubt with under two minutes remaining: Purdue, Michigan, Stanford, Brigham Young, and Pittsburgh, though USC and Oklahoma were both decided in the final five minutes; Michigan State in the final 10.
Navy, Miami, Boston College, and Wake Forest rank as four major blowouts (also part of the prediction).
Prediction #20 -- Freshmen Participants: I predicted nine: Davonte' Neal, Sheldon Day, Keivarae Russell, Chris Brown, Nicky Baratti, Romeo Okwara, Elijah Shumate, Ronnie Stanley, and C.J. Prosise. Nine was the correct number, but Prosise sat while Justin Ferguson started 12 games as a member of the kickoff return team.
Click here for Predictions 17-18-19-20
Prediction #21 -- No Major WInning Streak: I called for no winning streak greater than five games…Well, either that or 12 and counting.
Prediction #22 -- Back-to-Back Defeats: Noting that nine of Kelly's 10 losses entering the season were the result of two-game or three-game losing skids, I surmised that disturbing trend would continue, and the Irish would drop back-to-back games again in 2012. That's no longer possible...
Prediction #23-- More Touchdown Passes: There were a combined 21 last season vs. just 13 this fall, a stunningly low number considering their No. 1 ranking -- and the fact that the Irish have also rushed for fewer scores than they did last fall: 25 vs. 22 with one game pending.
Prediction #24 -- Comeback Kids: The prediction called for the first comeback win after at least a 10-point deficit of the Kelly era: the Irish came through with a 29-26 3OT win over Pittsburgh, a game in which they trailed 20-6 in the second half.
Prediction #25 -- Notre Dame will finished ranked for the first time since 2006: Yeah, I think we're safe there...
Click here for Predictions 21-22-23-24-25