Spot on...somewhat

A review of our summer prediction series examines the good...and I suppose a few that missed the mark.

The most fun I've had with a column or series of columns in my first eight months at IrishEyes was my "30 Rock Solid Summer Predictions" series started in late May.

I probably didn't finish as the national champion among predictors for 2009, but I did have fun trying (and I'm a good student and tough gentleman, so that's all that matters, right?)

Anyway, here's a run down of the good, the bad, the incredibly incorrect, the gray areas, and even one of the (single) best predictions of all time…

(For a link to all of the original predictions and the details and background involved, click here.

Prediction #1: The Secondary Will Record the Third-Highest Team Interception Total of the last 20 Years

The official prediction called for 19 picks in 13 games. The Irish secured 12 in 12…in other words, I was way off.

Prediction #2: DE/DT Ethan Johnson Will Lead the Defense in Tackles-For-Loss

Well, it was actually Darius Fleming, but more of Fleming's were sacks, and not scored as such. That resulted in the loss of TWO predictions and a change in approach for next season (I'll make sacks and TFL one category).

Officially wrong, but I cry foul.

Prediction #3: The Irish Offense Will Approach 4.0 Yards-Per-Carry

3.83…who'd have thought Navy would be the team to take the Irish out of the running (so to speak).

Prediction #4: LB Steve Filer Will Rank as the Team's Most Improved Player Between the Opening Kick-Off and the Bowl Game

That honor belongs to Golden Tate, but if we're going to embrace the purpose of the prediction, either Kapron Lewis-Moore, Gary Gray, or Chris Stewart would be my choice.

Prediction #5: Raeshon McNeil Will See More Playing Time in the Nickel Defense than Sergio Brown

No, but Harrison Smith moved into the role and Sergio Brown emerged as one of the team's starting safeties. I like my idea better…

Prediction #6: Jimmy Clausen Will Boast at least a 3:1 TD to Interception Ratio

True: And JC exceeded expectations with an incredible 7-1 final tally.

Prediction #7: Darius Fleming Will Lead the Team in Sacks

False: See prediction #2 for my official complaint, but I'll leave you with a quote from the movie Fletch to sum up my feelings:

"We're in a bit of a gray area here."

"How gray?"

"Charcoal…"

Prediction #8: The Pittsburgh Game Will be the Lowest Scoring Contest of the Season

False, Boston College at 20-16 (the purpose of the prediction was to designate the lowest score by a winning team, thus Notre Dame's 35-0 win over Nevada does not count).

The loss to Pittsburgh (27-22) was the fourth lowest-scoring game with the loss to Navy (23-21) second and victory at Purdue (24-21) ranking third.

Prediction #9: Robert Blanton Will Become the Fourth Irish Player to Record Five (or more) Interceptions Since 1992

No, but Kyle McCarthy turned the trick… half credit?

Prediction #10: The Irish Will Exceed 40 Points in Five Games This Season

35, 34, 33, 37, 40, 30, 38…stupid red zone.

Prediction #11: Michael Floyd Will Lead the Irish in Touchdowns Scored

His Week Three broken collarbone precluded the possibility. Floyd had scored five touchdowns in five halves prior to the injury that caused him to miss the next five games.

Golden Tate led the way, tying the program's second-highest mark of all time with 18 total touchdowns.

Prediction #12: Notre Dame Will Not Escape September Unscathed

Bing-bango, and unfortunately one of the picks in which I was most confident (the Irish finished 3-1 with a loss at Michigan).

Prediction #13: James Aldridge Will Score a Touchdown at Notre Dame Stadium

False. Aldridge was limited to just five halves of football at home this season due to a shoulder injury.

Prediction #14: ND Will Remain Behind Michigan for College Football's All-Time Best Winning Percentage at Season's End

Correct: Notre Dame's 6-6 finish did not allow them to catch the Wolverines (5-7). In fact, it may now take two more seasons (I predicted the Irish would surpass the Maize and Blue next season).

Prediction #15: The Irish Defense Will Yield its Largest Yardage Total of 2009 vs. Nevada

Either that or the lowest total…one of the two.

Prediction #16: The Irish Offense Will Pile Up its Largest Yardage Total of 2009 vs. Washington State

Correct: 592 total yards.

#17: Kyle Rudolph Will Record the Highest Single-Season TD Total for a Tight End Since Ken McAfee in 1977

McAfee scored a program-record six as a tight end in '77. Rudolph scored three in just under 10 games (and needed two more to top former tight end Pete Chryplewicz's total of four touchdown receptions in 1996).

Prediction #18: Notre Dame Will Not Lose a Game by a Double-Digit Deficit

Correct, and an awfully impressive call, right? Feel free to chime in on this one (just not the others).

Prediction #19: The Irish Will Block Six Kicks/Punts, Matching the Highest Team Total of the Decade

Let's see, they blocked...one. One? Don't most teams fall into two or three?

(Ethan Johnson blocked a PAT vs. MSU that contributed heavily to the victory)

Prediction #20: The Notre Dame Running Backs Will Rush for 15 Touchdowns or Fewer

Unfortunately Correct: (Like taking candy from a baby on this one, by the way). The running backs combined for just eight (five from Robert Hughes; three from Armando Allen). Just to be a good sport I'll include WR and Wildcat QB Golden Tate (two) and QB Jimmy Clausen (three) for a total of 13 rushing touchdowns.

In other news, Notre Dame will have a new coach in 2010…

Prediction #21: Notre Dame's 2009 Season-End Total Reception Chart

I knew this was impossible to predict, but here's my August list:

And here's the final tally for 2009:

  • Golden Tate
  • Michael Floyd
  • Kyle Rudolph
  • Armando Allen
  • Robby Parris
  • Duval Kamara
  • Robert Hughes
  • Shaquelle Evans
  • John Goodman
  • Mike Ragone
  • Theo Riddick
  • Jonas Gray
  • Roby Toma
  • Bobby Burger
  • Deion Walker
  • Paul Duncan (how'd I forget him!)

Prediction #22: Notre Dame Will Score More Than 50 Total Touchdowns in 2009

They scored 44 touchdowns in 2009 – 30 passing, 13 rushing, 1 PR. I blame the defense for the dearth of short fields afforded to the offense. Interestingly, six more scores would likely have led to the retention of Charlie Weis for 2010.

Prediction #23 – Armando Allen and Robert Hughes Will Share the Load

(The prediction called for a 40-carry difference between the two).

Officially incorrect, as Allen carried the ball a career-best 142 times while Robert Hughes added 88 rushing attempts.

Prediction #24 – The 2009 Touchdown Chart

The predicted players are listed in order with the actual ranking following in parenthesis

  • Michael Floyd: (2)
  • Golden Tate: (1)
  • Armando Allen: (T-4)
  • Robert Hughes: (3)
  • Kyle Rudolph: (T-4)
  • James Aldridge: (None)
  • Robert Blanton: (None - predicted two)
  • Mike Ragone: (None - predicted one)
  • Robby Parris: (Tied for 7th with one touchdown, as predicted)
  • Jimmy Clausen: (T-4).
  • Jonas Gray/Cierre Wood/Theo Riddick: I predicted one would score vs. WSU. None of the trio scored last year.
  • John Goodman: (Tied for 7th with one touchdown, as predicted)
  • Brian Smith: (None - predicted one)
  • Harrison Smith: (None - predicted one)

Note: I erroneously omitted Duval Kamara from the initial list. I'd have predicted three (he scored one).

Prediction #25 – Notre Dame's Highest Defensive Team Ranking Will (Again) Be Third-Down Efficiency

False: Its highest ranking was (offensive) Red Zone Efficiency (18th), followed by total Tackles-for-Loss (47th); Scoring Defense (64th) and then 3rd Down Efficiency (67).

After initially looking at a host of opposing running backs that shredded the Irish D, I've decided to officially blame the guy that's seen "every option known to mankind" for my own missed prediction.

Prediction #26: Kyle McCarthy Will Repeat as the Team's Tackle Leader

Correct, and it wasn't close. You know what they say, "Death, taxes, and Kyle McCarthy tackling someone at the second level of the Irish defense…"

Prediction #27: The 2009 Irish Will Play at Least Eight "Close and Late"

Honestly, this is the best prediction of all-time, right?!

Prediction #28 – Notre Dame's Defense Will Record More Sacks than Last Season's Total of 26

The defense finished with just 20, and though the assumed 13th game would have given me a shot, I think its fair to say this prediction was just off.

Prediction #29 – Notre Dame's Defense Will Allow 30 or Fewer Touchdowns

The defense allowed 35 touchdowns, though only 31 if you don't recognize the existence of Toby Gerhart.

Prediction #30 – Darrin Walls Will Triple His Career Interception Total

Walls had one interception entering the season. He now has two, matching his career high with a diving fourth-down, 4th Quarter pick at Purdue.

And there you have it folks. I'll try to do better next summer, but until then, I am what I am. A less-than-stellar predictor of future events. And that's just not good enough. It's not good enough for the readers, and it certainly won't be good enough for me.

Merry Christmas Irish Fans


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