Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 26, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 4 of 55 SEPT. 26, 2016 5 FAN FORUM IMBALANCED SCHEDULES I have loved your articles and pod- casts over the years. The staff does an amazing job. Thank you for your expertise and love for the Irish! College football is the best enter- tainment, but the scheduling aspect has always bothered me. As you well know, the Irish always play a very formidable schedule while the other powers do not. In the Sept. 19 edition, you refer- ence in your preview section that Michigan State since 2010 has had 66 wins compared to Notre Dame's 56. Of Michigan State's 66 wins since 2010, 15 came against: Western Michigan (three) Florida Atlantic (two) Northern Colorado (one) Youngstown State (two) Central Michigan (three) Eastern Michigan (two) Jacksonville State (one) Wyoming (one) I also feel that Illinois and Indiana have been pretty weak during this pe- riod of time. Who knows, if the Irish played MSU's schedule since 2010, they may have had 66 wins or more. Thanks again for your stellar journalism! Craig McMullen State College, Pa. Mr. McMullen, thank you for your kind words and continued support. You bring up a good and relevant point. Still, it's not quite fair to say other pow- ers do not play strong schedules. National champ Alabama ended up with the na- tion's toughest schedule in 2015. It had to play Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn during the regular season. Notre Dame might have had two or three losses from that slate because of the residual effect. Plus, the Crimson Tide then had to beat Florida, Michigan State and Clemson. Since 2010, ND also has recorded the following victories: Navy (five) Temple (two) Army (one) Air Force (one) Western Michigan (one) Rice (one) So that's 15 "scheduled wins" for Michigan State and 11 for Notre Dame. One can argue that Navy doesn't be- long there because it is a regular eight- or nine-win program. The reality is Navy usually does not have a single player on its roster the Irish would ardently recruit. There is a reason the Irish won an NCAA- record 43 in a row against the Midship- men from 1964-2006. Notre Dame also lost some "scheduled wins" since 2010: Navy and Tulsa, at home no less, in 2010. South Florida, which finished 5-7, at home in 2011. Northwestern at home in 2014. So those four were "supposed to be" the 15 that Michigan State had. Also, if you argue that Illinois and Indi- ana weren't great shakes in the Big Ten, we can counter that neither Wake Forest (three wins) nor Boston College (four more wins) was during that time for Note Dame. Would Notre Dame have more wins than Michigan State if the schedules were reversed? We would guess yes. But Notre Dame also has more resources to sell than MSU. We believe that nine years out of 10, Notre Dame is going to have more overall talent on its roster than Michigan State. BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007 Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: Notre Dame has lost many games recently it was "supposed to" win, including versus Northwestern at home in 2014. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA FROM THE WEBSITE After the first two games of 2016, one of the questions on was whether Notre Dame was worse or potentially better than in 2015? Here were a small sample of dozens of responses: NDFaninMadTown: Every year you're going to lose some people. We needed to lose one more — a member of the coaching staff — and we'd be 2-0. MMcCormick: About the same. Kizer is better. Receivers are worse. Offensive line is probably a down check. Linebackers overall are better as is the line. Secondary is probably a wash, maybe worse. GuyGadbois: This team has more room for growth. Check back at the end of the season. I predict we win our first major bowl in 23 years this year. Rich Starkey: Last year's team was better after week 2. This year's team will be better after week 12. JCrone031: Last year's team was better. This year's schedule may be a bit easier. Still to be determined. Chamgel: It depends. Does Brian VanGorder coach all 12 games in 2016, or does Kelly take over the defense at some point? BGI User 2232: Why don't we start with how we felt two games into last year, after having lost our starting RB and coming off a skin-of-our-teeth comeback against Virginia. Then take that feeling about the '15 team, and compare it to what we are feeling now. I'm not brimming with optimism right now, but I certainly wasn't last year, either. Polaris6: Worse. ND can't get over the hump and establish itself as a consistent top 10 team. They are a top 20 team, and in my book with the talent they recruit that is underachieving. Brian Kelly has petered out and this is the type of team ND will field with him at the helm: Top 20 consistently but no major wins and no big 6 bowl wins.

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