I just picked up a copy of Athlons college football

Submitted by oHOWiHATEohioSTATE on June 1st, 2011 at 2:10 PM
WTF they have ND at #6. Also they don't even have DR in the top 10 in the Heisman race. They have Michigan at 8-4 4-4 BIG.



June 1st, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

lol good point. That's pretty funny that they have the #6 team in the country losing to an unranked Michigan team. I have a feeling if Michigan finished 8-4 with a win over the #6 team in the country, we'd be ranked.

But a lot of those mags are going to be inaccurate anyway because of what is going on with OSU. I bet most have OSU in the big ten title race and now it looks like that would be the best possible thing that could happen to them this season. Without Pryor they'll be likely starting another true freshman at QB and be without a HC for the entire season.


June 1st, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

It's not that farfetched.  The #6 team in the country generally goes about 10-2.   ND's schedule isn't that difficult.  It's possible they could drop that early one to us but go on a long winning streak to end the season in the top 10.  


June 1st, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

I'll be honest...I've always been a ND hater, but I think they'll be much better than people are expecting this year. They'll give us fits and also take down MSU. They have a lot of talent back and we all know Floyd will most likely play the whole year. They're a talented bunch and probably much more cohesive with Kelly in Year 2.

D.C. Dave

June 1st, 2011 at 2:35 PM ^

And I agree with you, that will be a very tough game. But I am not so convinced their defense is awesome, if only because it turned in some nice performances the latter half of 2010 against teams that had big names but were very disappointing (USC) or had seen their offense disappear due to injury (Utah). In the end, Notre Dame ranked 51st in total defense.

Granted, we probably would've lost to the Irish last year if Crist had not gotten injured, since we had shown no signs of stopping them when he was in the game.

I have to think we'll do a better job on Floyd this year. Could not do much worse. Yes, they will give us fits, but I just see us finding a way to win the game, especially since we have the best player on the field. Never mind the change in offense, I'm expecting to see Denard show the improvement one can expect from a great athlete in his second year of starting. If we throw it enough to keep them guessing, he's a talent that's hard to stop.

blue note

June 1st, 2011 at 7:56 PM ^

Just saw Phil Steele has ND at #6 too. Not sure I would put them that high, although they return pretty much everybody on D and the offense should be better with 2 experienced QBs and Floyd in the second year of the spread.

Unusually for ND their depth on both lines looks pretty solid. It remains to be seen what they have in skill position players (besides Floyd) and the secondary is pretty average. They have a ton of talent at LB and DE though... I wouldn't be surprised if they have the best D we face all year, including Nebraska and OSU.



June 1st, 2011 at 8:12 PM ^

Running back depth is a disaster.  Wood and Gray are nice, but with Roberson out with an ACL their third guy is a generic 3-star running back or walk on.

ND has 4 offensive linemen back, but as a unit they were meh last year.

Cornerback depth is also thin.

If Floyd is out then not only is he out, but Kelly probably starts moving guys to positions where they're not as good a fit.  

That said, if Kelly can match his reputation on offense, the defense should more than hold up its end.


June 1st, 2011 at 11:15 PM ^

For roster manuals, that you can look up online in 2 minutes. I used to buy them all, and eat it up. They were particularly helpful for "Level Larcom"'s more obscure games. But as an annual that turned into a race to come out the earliest, they seem outdated now the day they hit the shelf. And I can find articles as bad or better online now. So what DO people still get them for? Brian's and the Wolverine's at least go in-depth, and usually give a nice history article along with the hit or miss analysis. But the generic annuals?


June 1st, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

Kelly is formidable.  I believe he will be challenged again this year since this game is against a different Michigan team and what I think will be a pretty aggressive coaching staff.

maize and brew…

June 1st, 2011 at 2:38 PM ^

Not trying to troll here but why does anyone think D. Robinson is gonna be in the heisman race? He ran pretty much every other play last year. With a pro style offense come in this year, he wont be running as much as last year for sure. They will have running plays for him but he will be a pocket passer and his accuracy is definitely a big question mark. He has a lot to prove this year. Shouldnt be a big surprise about the pre ratings.


June 1st, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

As a true sophomore.  LeMichael James is the only returning player in the country who rushed for more yards than Denard last year.  I don't think James is going to throw for another 2,500-3,000 yards either.  As for accuracy, Denard's completion percentage and yards per attempt last year were virtually identical to Andrew Luck's at the same stage in his career (first time starter, second year on campus).  Denard threw a few more picks but he also threw a few more TD's as well. 

The guy is going to only get better throwing the ball and anyone who thinks he won't rush for a shitload of yards and touchdowns (even if given fewer designed runs) is kidding themselves.  Throw in a good offensive line that returns 4 starters, an experienced receiving corps with at least 4 quality options (assuming Stonum plays), a solid senior tight end, and the potential for a running back to emerge who might shoulder some of the load as well and I'm amazed everyone around here doesn't realize Denard is far and away the frontrunner for the award.


June 1st, 2011 at 4:08 PM ^

and running plays he's shown he can run.  He's an exceptional talent that any coach would be ecstatic to be creative with.  Borges is no dummy. 

Pro style will come gradually and against weaker teams.  But expect most of that in 2012.  We've got a great O line and the best offensive player in college football, we're not going to limit that.  MANBALL may have been the plan, but my guess is that they understand what they have now.  More RB carries, for sure.  But lots of Denard and lots of QB oh noes.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:31 PM ^

that Denard's coaches have STATED that Denard will likely run for 1000 yards instead of 1700 in this offense. I'd venture to say no returning starter in his second year starting, having been a Heisman contender the previous year, has been told by his coaches that he will gain fewer yards on the ground--by design. Granted, Borges says he'll make up those missing 700 yards via increased passing, but let's be honest: Denard was in the Heisman race because of his running. I'd love to be wrong, I think Denard will improve again over last year (though I wouldn't be surprised at early season struggles), but I think it's legit to wonder if he's a true contender this year. Under the old offense he'd be such a lock I'd mortgage my house on it. But things have changed.


June 1st, 2011 at 3:20 PM ^

ran for a crazy amount of yards, enough to be named an All American running back, yet he passed for more. Now he's a year older, and he and those around him are better coached. Our team was a  few defensive stops away from a 10 win season last year even with all the turnovers, I think he'll cut way down on those as a Junior under Al Borges.


June 1st, 2011 at 7:48 PM ^

I appreciate the homerism, but our team last year was about as close to ten wins as Pryor is to having his jersey retired. The team I saw play against Wisconsin, OSU, and Miss St. was a bottom tier big ten team, and it wasn't all the defenses fault. We'll need significant overall improvement in order to win 8 or 9 games this year.


June 1st, 2011 at 8:56 PM ^

Our team was a few defensive stops away from a 10 win season last year

I'm sorry, but this is nuts. We went 4-0 in single-digit games last season. We were a lot closer to four wins than 10.


June 1st, 2011 at 4:12 PM ^

If we're being honest with ourselves, we should admit that Denard wasn't a very good quarterback last year.  I'm sure this post is going to get negged and collapsed, but the bottom line is that he's not very accurate and he's not a great decision maker in the pocket.  Sure, he might improve this off-season, just like any player *might* improve. 

But he's not a good quarterback just because he can toss a ball out to Darryl Stonum, who then turns it into a 66-yard catch-and-run TD against UMass.  He's a not a good quarterback just because he can fake a run and then hit an uncovered Roy Roundtree for a 75-yard TD against Illinois.

His Heisman candidacy depends almost solely on his running skills, because his throwing skills are mediocre at best.  He might even be a subpar Big Ten quarterback when it comes to pure throwing ability and pocket awareness.  So it all depends on what Hoke and Co. do with him next year.  If they run him a bunch and keep some of those same spread principles (bubble screens, QB play action passes, etc.), then he might be in the mix for a Heisman.  If they go to an offense that's mostly pro-style, I-formation, split-back, under center, etc. . . . you can probably kiss his Heisman hopes goodbye.  But if that's what's best for the team, then so be it.

Zone Left

June 1st, 2011 at 5:59 PM ^

I totally agree with you here. His mechanics and decisionmaking seemed to go downhill as the season wore on last year too. He needs to become comfortable against a pass rush, learn a new offense, and stay healthy to put up All-American type numbers. To win the Heisman, he needs to do all of that and have the defense be surprisingly good--Michigan probably needs 9-10 wins for Denard to be a Heisman finalist.


June 1st, 2011 at 11:22 PM ^

For winning the Heisman isn't him running for almost as many yards, or passing for more, but winning more games. Which he's going to need help with, but he's going to have to make more plays that win games against good teams. That'll give him more of a chance to catch Luck than more stats.


June 1st, 2011 at 8:28 PM ^

He was 20th in passing efficiency last year. I hear you on the RAC, but it would take a more thorough study because most QBs have some of those too.

Suppose he runs for 1,000 yards but passes for 700 yards more than last year.  So, like last year, he's 2nd in the country in total yards.  


June 1st, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

of the year.  IF it  hadn't been for Denard and MSU's heroics, ND would have been 10-3.  Despite losses to Tulsa and Navy, ND made progress throughout the season and should be better in 2011.


Their 2011 schedule is also not very dfficult.

Indiana Blue

June 1st, 2011 at 3:22 PM ^

Tell you what  .... go back, research and then tell us all the last time ND finished the season ranked higher than they were ranked BEFORE the season started.   Most over-rated football program since the Holtz era.  I honestly don't know the answer, but the number of times they haven't lived up to the "hype" far exceeds the reverse.  They still haven't had a quality bowl win since 1993 ... good grief, "good team by the end of the year" ... dude - who give a shit ?  They are 1 -4 against the Maize and Blue in the last 5 and 2 of those were against a team that had the worst 3 year stretch of Michigan football ever !

geez ... I hate nd !

Go Blue !


June 1st, 2011 at 6:10 PM ^

The difference, as you will see, is that there is actually a glimmer of hope on the defense.  There will be no 500 yards for Denard this year.  Defense will flat out win you more important games than offense will.  Frankly there hasn't been much wrong with the ND offense for the last 7 years, we just couldn't stop anyone.


June 1st, 2011 at 5:13 PM ^

ND has a very good coach, is in their second year of the spread, and has a schedule that should work out pretty well for them.  

And, though I hope Michigan is a "surprise" 11-win team this year, 8 wins is a very reasonable prediction for them.  


June 2nd, 2011 at 10:29 AM ^

They are the one team that every media outlet agreed to rank unreasonably high every single year in order to observe the effect the collective will of the media can have on the perception of ND and the performance of their team. 

Oh, and evenutally they have to be correct, based on nothing more than sheer probability.... right?