These are the football doldrums, Super Bowl week notwithstanding. Notre Dame’s coaching staff is (reportedly) filled out, with an announcement singing new running back coach Lance Taylor’s praises only HR-approval away. The Irish roster churn will still include a few more departing players, but those decisions are less and less likely to be known before late spring, if not summer. Next week’s National Signing Day will include no more than two additions to the Notre Dame class of 2019, perhaps none.
It is a good thing February is the shortest month of the year, because it is also the month with the least remotely-rational football conversation.
Help change that, will ya? Send questions, comments, conversation starters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Otherwise, yours truly may continue spending Monday nights watching 24-hour old NBA games without pondering football at all. Luka Dončić’s second career triple-double made that borderline understandable this week, but expecting that excuse to arise often is to actually put too high of expectations on the Slovenian sensation.
Your input is appreciated in advance. Until then …
If Notre Dame is a top-10 team in 2019, it is worth keeping an eye on the other nine.
And the Irish will be in most, if not all, preseason top-10 rankings. At that level, a single loss makes the season’s result more dependent on others’ losses than on anything else. With trips to both Georgia (Sept. 21) and Michigan (Oct. 26) on the docket, a loss is more likely than not.
Remembering who the rest are, and their likelihoods of suffering losses, will provide context through the offseason and into September. With that in mind, a thought experiment from SBNation prompts pertinent forecasting:
Given Notre Dame would need to beat at least one of Georgia or Michigan, and probably both, and then top presumably two of the top four or five teams listed to win the title, its 25-to-1 odds seem fair. As a whole, keeping an eye on the offseasons of all these listed is time decently well spent. (Note: Both Virginia Tech and USC, Irish opponents in 2019, are already having atrocious offseasons.)
If forcing this space to commit to a team other than Alabama or Clemson, it will take Oklahoma at 10-to-1.
INSIDE THE IRISH READING
— Brandon Wimbush heads to Central Florida for his final season
— Notre Dame’s defensive depth chart, a touch lighter with D.J. Morgan’s intended transfer
— Notre Dame brings back the most important NFL possibilities in Kareem & Okwara
— Notre Dame will return more on offense than usual
— Notre Dame’s defensive reload in 2019 perhaps more daunting than realized
— No rush needed for Notre Dame to find RBs coach
— Lance Taylor checks all the boxes Notre Dame needs in a new RB coach
— The best games every week of the 2019 college football season
— If you had to bet on a team besides Bama or Clemson to win in 2019 …
— Woman charged in 2016 altercation involving Devin Butler at Linebacker Lounge
— Hokies QB Josh Jackson headlines run of defectors transferring out of program
— Bob Diaco reportedly tapped to be next defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech
— Bob Stoops may be exploring a return to coaching
— We need more women’s jerseys
— Bob Costas ends legendary career at NBC after 40 years