Tim O'Malley -- PublisherFor me, the season starts next week. For Brian Kelly, his staff, players, and those just anxious to watch the Irish play a football game after nine months away, it begins Saturday vs. first-time visitor Temple.
If you're looking to glean anything from the opener it's likely how many players Kelly uses while the game is still in doubt. Anything else is fool's gold. Most predict an epic blowout and 40-plus for the Irish, but I'm not sure the offense will be firing on all cylinders from the outset, then again, I said the same last year from Dublin, and Notre Dame laid a 50-spot on the Midshipmen.
Let's see how many teams the Irish defense can hold without a touchdown this fall. Last year it was six (seven in regulation including Stanford) -- Week One will be the first of 2013.
With my full game preview forthcoming today: Notre Dame 31 Temple 6
Anna Hickey -- Irisheyes.com Recruiting ReporterSaturday's game will end shortly after it starts. Temple brings a new head coach and a new quarterback to South Bend, the latter of the two never having taken a collegiate snap. I don't see Temple's wide outs or running back being able to pick up any slack, either. Notre Dame's D leaves Saturday without allowing a touchdown.
On the flip side of the ball, Temple has more proven talent. Still, Notre Dame's playmakers have a field day in the home opener. George Atkinson III runs for 150-plus yards and two touchdowns. The remaining of the running back corp runs for close to 100 yards, and they tack on another score. Quarterback Tommy Rees throws for 200-plus yards and three touchdowns, with one being to freshman Corey Robinson. My first Notre Dame game will be a blowout. Notre Dame 45 Temple 6
Brian Dohn -- Recruiting Analyst/NE Regional ManagerLiving in the East, it is fun to see Temple's program have energy in recruiting and people excited about things with a charismatic coach. It won't matter, though, because superior talent -- markedly superior talent -- wins 99 percent of the time and the Irish have it. Unless the Irish offense pulls a South Florida relapse and forgets the end zone begins at the goal line rather than the 10-yard line, this should be a blowout. Notre Dame has a big edge in talent and in coaching, and it will have a big edge on the scoreboard. Notre Dame 42 Temple 10
SeattleNDFan -- ModeratorOpening against Notre Dame, in Notre Dame Stadium, with a brand new head coach (Steve Addazio left for Boston College last December) and a brand new QB who has yet to attempt a college pass is a recipe for disaster for the Owls. Expect Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly to try and crush Temple early to avoid a South Florida situation to open this season.
On offense Tommy Rees should be able to pick and choose play action opportunities so don't expect to much of the playbook to be shown against Temple, this should be the power running attack Kelly has been trying to build since he had to endure Stanford's offense rolling over the Irish in 2010, and Temple's rush defense, which finished 2012 ranked 100th in the nation against the run, is the perfect matchup for the Irish.
On defense, Temple was able to run the ball effectively last season but they did not face a front seven like the Irish all season and they will be transitioning from Addazio's Tebow-esque read-option to a pro-style, drop back passing attack featuring redshirt junior Connor Reilly, whose next pass attempt will be his first.
ND should put this one away early and may not need to throw the ball at all the entire game given Temple's probable vulnerability to the run. ND 38 Temple 0
Morrissey79 - ModeratorTemple comes into South Bend with a new head coach, a revamped offense, and not a lot of experience. Some might say (this guy included) that Temple is ND's easiest opponent this year. With all the offseason story lines, Notre Dame fans (and I'm sure coaches/players alike) cannot wait for the season to start and forget about all the negative incidents that have occurred since the kickoff of the national title game.
I expect ND to come out focused, efficient, and workman-like in their season opener against Temple. Tommy Rees will show some of his improved physical attributes, throwing for two scores and also running for a first down on a QB keep. I think we'll see George Atkinson III, Cam McDaniel, Amir Carlisle, and Greg Bryant all carry the ball at least 5 times, with the GAIII leading the way in yards after a 50+ yard TD run. I also expect to see Corey Robinson catch a touchdown in his first game in a ND uniform similar to Michael Floyd against SDSU.
The defense will be its usual self - will play smart and sound football. Prince Shembo will start his season right with 1 sack. Ishaq Williams will see plenty of PT with Stephon Tuitt resting more than usual with Michigan on deck and he will also record his first sack. The defense will also force two interceptions, one by Bennett Jackson and the other by Matthias Farley.
Special teams will still leave ND fan's head scratching, specifically punting, but ND will finally return multiple punts in a game successfully for the first time in over a year.
ND 38 Temple 9
KurzND -- ModeratorMatt Rhule will make his coaching debut at one of the most hallowed grounds in college football. Replacing his starting QB and top two RBs. He takes over for the Steve Addizao who led Temple to a 4-7 record and left for Boston College who foolishly hired him.
That is a lot to come into for game one. I expect a bland game were ND will run and won't throw more than 25 passes. Look for many RBs to get carries and for the offense to enforce their will on Temple. On defense, I expect Bob Diaco's crew to shut Temple out of the end zone.
Too many news players, new scheme, on the road vs one of the best coaches and defenses in the country is just too much for Temple.
Notre Dame 38 Temple 6