Every week we tell you why the Irish should dominate the opposition. We point out obvious advantages in match ups versus the opposition, and reasons why the Irish should cruise to victory.
But seven games into the season, there is one truth I know about this team: Expect the unexpected.
My head is telling this game will be closer than many Irish fans anticipate. Sifting through the prediction board and I see many Irish fans predict a 30-point win. I just don't see it.
This team has shown a propensity to playing up to the level of their competition, and we fully expect the Mids to come out fired up for this game.
I also don't like the fact that Navy head coach Paul Johnson, who I think is one of the nation's best coaches, has had an extra week to prepare for the Irish.
On offense, I believe the Irish can pass on Navy, but I also believe momentum will play a very large role in this game. Notre Dame would love to get their running game going against Navy and probably will work hard early to make that happen. However, a couple of stalled early Irish offense possession could turn the tide of momentum, and if that happens, hold onto your hat.
The Midshipmen have good players. The talent gap many suggest isn't quite as large as some might have you believe. Navy might not be the biggest team the Irish face, but they do have some speed at the skill positions, and more importantly, they play very efficient football and with a lot of emotion. All this team needs is a reason to believe and they'll give Notre Dame fits all day. Throw is some rain and there are plenty of red flags in this game.
The Irish defense should have a solid day, but I'm also concerned with the misdirection of the Navy offense. While I really like what I see in both Travis Thomas and Joe Brockington, neither has spent much time actually playing the spread option offense. And, they're out on the perimeter where a lot of action takes place in this offense. Navy missed a couple of wide open big plays in the passing game last year. If they hit one or two in this game, we could be in for another epic battle.
Yes, Navy will be starting a new quarterback. Both potential starters were ineffective against Rutgers when inserted into the game. But there is a difference between being thrown into a game and having two weeks to prepare knowing you're going to play.
As I mentioned in Mike's Mailbag, the play of both Derek Landri and Trevor Laws gives me a lot of hope in this game. If they can get into the backfield often, they'll disrupt a lot of what Navy wants to do on offense.
Mike Frank Prediction
I don't want to sound negative, but I'm a show me guy. I simply don't believe this team can blow out anyone by 30 until they show me. I also don't think that will happen against Navy.
Notre Dame: 31
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