Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2023 College Football Preview
June 10, 2023
Record – 9-4
ATS – 7-6
Year one of the Marcus Freeman experience got off to a rocky start as the Irish somehow managed to lose to Marshall and Stanford (!) at home in the first half of the campaign. Not good. Thankfully, Notre Dame played a much better brand of football down the stretch and ended up winning six of their final seven games. That streak included a very impressive 35-14 SPANKING of the mighty Clemson Tigers in South Bend. They finished on a high-note with a 45-38 win over the upstart COCKS from South Carolina in the Gator Bowl
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2023 Outlook`
You’d probably have to go back to the Brady “Beefcake” Quinn days to find a Notre Dame QB with proven talent close to that of former Wake Forest star Sam Hartman. Notre Dame now has a QB that’s thrown for almost 13,000 (!) yards in his career and booked 110 TD passes. Hartman is an obvious Heisman Trophy contender and he brings instant credibility to the THROW GAME. The WR group doesn’t have a proven #1 dood but there are a few interesting options including emerging threat Jayden Thomas and converted RB Chris Tyree. Losing all-Universe TE Michael Mayer is a killer but the offense will be much more focused on getting the ball to the WRs this season. Notre Dame brings back #1 RB Audric Estime (920, 11 TD) but they’ll miss the production of Logan Diggs who’s off to LSU. The OL will be rock solid and it features a future #1 NFL draft pick in LT Joe Alt. The Irish will be much better in the THROW GAME (#97 passing offense LY) but they’ll need one or two members of the WR room to emerge as stars in order for the offense to reach its potential. Former OC Tommy Rees is off to ROLL TIDE (!) so they’ll be working with a new OC in Gerad Parker.
The Irish ended the 2022 season ranked #38 in scoring defense (23 PPG) and #21 in total defense (329 YPG) but they displayed a SOFT UNDERBELLY vs the run at times and ranked an impossibly-pathetic #129 in red zone defense. We don’t have a ton of confidence in our boy Al Golden (year two as DC) and have some concerns about an inexperienced DL and the loss of their all-time sack leader Isaiah Foskey (11 LY; only player with five or more). The LB group looks fine and the secondary features one of the best CBs in the nation in 2022 freshman All-American Benjamin Morrison who picked off six passes LY. Freeman and Golden should be able to put together an above-average secondary but they’ll need a true playmaker to emerge at safety. Overall, this has the look of a very good, but not great defense.
The Irish will be breaking in a new PK and punter. Spencer Shrader transferred from USF and should be solid (20/26 FG L2Y, 95-95 XP career) whilst punter Ben Krimm (Penn) will try and keep the Irish punting game in good form (#24 net punting LY). Chris Tyree has averaged 21 yards per KR over his career (one TD). They’ll need to find a replacement for PR Brandon Joseph who did a good job in 2022 (18-179; ND #28 punt returns).
Overall – The success of the 2023 regular season will be determined by how they perform in three yuuuge games (Ohio St, USC, at Clemson). They’ve got a small helping of TOMATO CANS on the schedule so a playoff run is possible provided that they win at least two of the three aforementioned BIGGIE SIZE match-ups. Note that they start the season in Ireland on August 26 when they tussle with Navy.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Central Michigan (September 16)
This is a tricky sandwich spot as it follows a road trip to NC State and precedes the massive rematch with Ohio St. We don’t think we’ll be interested in laying a big number with the home team that could be as high as four touchdowns.
Season Win Total
Market consensus, June 10 <wide range of prices are available>
Over 8.5 -120
Under 8.5 +100
It’s a tricky call, but even if you assume they only win one of the tough ones, they definitely have a license to win eight of the other nine games. This isn’t one of our favorite team totals right now but we’ll let it simmer and percolate in our minds over the summer.
The iconic gold helmets were originally introduced in 1959 as a way to make the team more visible on black-and-white TV broadcasts. The green color of the early Irish helmets was too difficult to distinguish from the green of the field. TRIVIA NUGGET, YO!
The NBC partnership with Notre Dame football started in 1991 and it’s the longest uninterrupted partnership between a TV network and a college football program in history. Saturday college football has proven to be a welcome change to the steady diet of fake news and cringe-worthy TV shows.
We can’t wait to see how the Irish perform with a star QB under center. However, the expectations for the 2023 edition of Notre Dame football might be a bit high given the uncertainty surrounding the DL, WR group, and new OC. There’s no doubt that these guys are a DARKHORSE contender for a playoff berth but the majority of our 37 sets of power ratings have them finishing at 9-3. That seems reasonable to us. **
** nobody can take you seriously these days unless you have at least 21 sets of power ratings.