Lessons Learned: Reviewing the Preseason Predictions

Well, this lessons learned session is going to be a little less fun than it seemed at the halfway point, but as promised, here we are to review our preseason predictions now that the regular season has wrapped up. The bowl game could change things slightly, but I don’t think it would make a big difference anywhere. And in any case, we made these predictions about the regular season, so, uh, there.

Big Picture Stuff

What will Notre Dame’s 2017 regular season record be?
  • 10-2 or better: Staff, 25%; Readers, 26%
  • 9-3: Staff, 17%; Readers: 43%
  • 8-4 or worse: Staff, 58%; Readers: 31%

Kudos to our brilliant readers for nailing this one. The interesting thing here is that the actual regular season record met or exceeded expectations for 75% of the staff and 74% of the readers – and yet it still feels massively disappointing. I think that mostly relates to how the season went down; at 7-1 after pummeling USC and NC State, we all subconsciously revised our preseason predictions. I think many also considered a 2-1 record against Georgia, USC, and Stanford to be one measure of a successful season, and of course we didn’t hit that.

What’s your biggest concern heading into the season?
  • Defensive line depth chart: Staff, 67%; Readers: 37%
  • Safety depth chart: Staff, 0%; Readers: 24%
  • Defensive fundamentals: Staff, 8%; Readers: 11%
  • 2016 hangover: Staff, 17%; Readers: 2%

In hindsight… WHAT THE HELL WERE WE THINKING? Given their performance over the last month of the season and the questions about them all the way back in camp, it’s pretty mind-boggling that the staff wasn’t more concerned about the safeties. Nick Coleman was a lifesaver this year (more on that below), and Mike Elko did a good job of hiding them overall, but they eventually got exposed. Interestingly, the leading concern for both staff and readers, the defensive line, ended up being not a concern at all. In fact, you could make a very reasonable case for them as the best unit on the defense and third best on the team behind the offensive line and running backs. Elko and the much-maligned Mike Elston deserve credit for that.

Superlatives

Who will be Notre Dame’s offensive MVP?
  • Josh Adams: Staff, 33%; Readers, 42%
  • Brandon Wimbush: Staff, 25%; Readers: 32%
  • Equanimeous St. Brown: Staff, 33%; Readers: 11%
  • Mike McGlinchey: Staff, 8%; Readers: 8%
  • Quenton Nelson: Staff, 0%; Readers: 6%
  • Tony Jones: Staff, 0%; Readers: 2%

Despite the late season fade and nagging injury issues, Josh Adams was clearly the team’s offensive MVP this season. Big Q probably deserved to be second on this list – maybe even first. ESB was almost a non-factor, mostly through no fault of his own, and Wimbush was a game-wrecker when he was on but wildly inconsistent. And who voted for Tony Jones??

Who will be Notre Dame’s defensive MVP?
  • Nyles Morgan: Staff, 67%; Readers, 92%
  • Daelin Hayes: Staff, 17%; Readers, 4%
  • Drue Tranquill: Staff, 8%; Readers, 4%
  • Julian Love: Staff, 8%; Readers, 0%

Morgan was a bit of an engima this season. He was solid, certainly, and occasionally excellent, but he didn’t emerge as the year-long dominant force many expected him to be. Hayes played well, but not well enough to merit MVP consideration. I think it says something about the performance of the defense as a whole – in a positive way, stop snickering – that it’s hard to pick someone out. I would probably go with someone not on the preseason radar: Te’Von Coney, who led the team in tackles (99) and tackles for loss (12.5). 18s writer ndroyalsfan pointed out that Coney had the season many of us thought Morgan would, which is a good way to sum it up.

Julian Love definitely deserves honorable mention at least, with a school-record 17 PBUs, 3 interceptions, and 2 touchdowns. Jerry Tillery belongs in the conversation as well; from the DT position, he led the team in sacks (4.0) and hurries (10), was tied for 2nd in TFLs (8.5), and was 6th in tackles (52).

Who will provide the play of the year?
  • Brandon Wimbush: Staff, 33%; Readers, 32%
  • Equanimeous St. Brown: Staff, 17%; Readers, 30%
  • Alize Mack: Staff, 25%; Readers, 4%
  • Josh Adams: Staff, 8%; Readers: 17%
  • CJ Sanders: Staff, 17%; Readers: 6%

A couple of Wimbush’s long runs against Boston College were strong contenders, but with fewer highlight moments as the year went on he can’t snag this one. Poor ESB was one of the main victims of Wimbush’s accuracy issues and had very few chances to show off his ability. Alize Mack… Look, I like the kid. Let’s not go there. CJ Sanders never had that big special teams moment that some of us expected.

But for 10 weeks, Josh Adams was the best running back in the country, and he gave us a new splash reel every week. For me, I’ll take his back-breaking 84-yard jaunt against USC as the play of the year.

Which freshman will have the biggest immediate impact?
  • Brock Wright: Staff, 42%; Readers, 13%
  • Isaiah Robertson: Staff, 42%; Readers, 20%
  • Kurt Hinish: Staff, 8%; Readers: 15%
  • Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa: Staff, 8%; Readers, 2%

A few other guys came up too, but all with relatively small percentages of the vote. I think this is an easy one; MTA blew away the competition, emerging as a legitimate front line player at a critical position.

Over/Under Fun

Wins in first 6 games: 5

Result: Push. Damn it. 52% of the staff and 61% of the readers took the over.

Average team rushing yards in Brian Kelly’s tenure: 2,127

Result: Waaaaaay over, 3,349. 92% of the staff and 89% of the readers took the over. We’re wicked smaht. The 2017 edition of the Fighting Irish rolled up 24% more rushing yards than Kelly’s previous high in 2015; in fact it’s one of the best rushing performances in the history of Notre Dame football, albeit with a rather substantial standard deviation.

Average team passing yards in Brian Kelly’s tenure: 3,272

Result: Waaaaaay under, 2,110. 92% of the staff and 59% of the readers took the under, which was a smart play. The Irish racked up (?) 27% fewer passing yards than Kelly’s previous low in 2012. I don’t really feel like tracking it down, but even without the research it feels safe to say that it was one of the least prolific Irish passing attacks ever. Damn it (again).

Average team sacks in Brian Kelly’s tenure: 24
Average team tackles for loss in Brian Kelly’s tenure: 70
Average team interceptions in Brian Kelly’s tenure: 12.6

Results: Sacks, under, 22; TFLs, over, 75; INTs, under, 10. The staff voted for the over on each item, 58%/58%/67%, respectively, while the readers also took the over on each, 68%/72%/56%. After nine games the defense seemed well positioned to push for the line in sacks and interceptions, with 20 and 10, but those stats faded in the final three games. On the other hand, they stayed strong in TFLs, recording the second best number of the season against Stanford (9) and the fifth-best against Miami (5). There’s a reasonable opportunity to beat the sack average and inch closer to the interception average with a solid bowl game performance as well, which is fair since these averages include bowl performances.

While we’ve eschewed comparisons to 2016 generally speaking, it’s worth noting that these disruption stats are all up from last year – +8 in sacks, +14 in TFLs, and +2 in INTs. And that a year after registering 3.0 sacks total, the defensive line this year logged 15.0, and four of the top five sackers were DL. I like Mike Elko’s chances to improve the defense further in 2018 as he undoes more BVG-era damage.

Josh Adams rushing yards: 1,100

Result: Comfortably over, 1,386. 50% of the staff and 54% of readers took the over. Adams logged the best individual rushing season under Kelly and the third best season in school history, behind only Vagas Ferguson and Alan Pinkett. He needs 51 yards in the bowl game to pass Ferguson’s 11-game total.

Equanimeous St. Brown receiving yards: 1,000

Result: Sad trombone, 468. 50% of the staff and 63% of the readers took the over. Even with a new QB, this seemed like an easy mark for a guy who put up 961 yards in a year that we didn’t even have a football team. Sadly, with that new QB going through much more growing pains than even the most pessimistic fan expected, St. Brown didn’t even make it halfway to the line.

Brandon Wimbush rushing yards: 400

Result: Obliterated, 765. 58% of the staff and 67% of the readers took the under. Whoops. Wimbush had Tony Rice’s 884-yard record in sight before going into a bit of a shell after hurting his off hand against Wake Forest. Even so, he had a historic season running the football. He also ran for half a yard more per carry than Rice did, and still has an outside shot at getting the record on fewer attempts than Rice had in 1989.

Nyles Morgan tackles: 110

Result: Under, 83. 25% of the staff and 75% of the readers took the over. This line was ambitious, but still a touch behind final-season Jaylon Smith and Manti Te’o’s production. It seemed reasonable. Instead, Morgan actually took a small step back from last year’s 90 tackle performance, while Coney emerged next to him. In a sense it’s unfortunate that everyone expected Morgan to be all-world, as he was very good and it felt a little disappointing. The captain will be missed, though, no matter what the numbers are.

Daelin Hayes sacks: 8.5

Result: Under, 3.0. 67% of the staff and 70% of the readers took the under. In hindsight this line too was overly ambitious; Hayes looked good early but faded as the season went on, which we should’ve expected from a guy who saw his first extended action in almost three years.

Defensive and special teams touchdowns: 4.5

Result: Under, 2. 67% of the staff and 57% of the readers took the over. I set the line with an eye on Kelly’s average of 4.3. Sanders never could quite break free on kick returns, punt returns were mostly an exercise in futility, and Julian Love was the only defensive scorer on the season.

Possessions vs. Navy: 10.5

Result: Under, 7. 80% of you and 83% of the staff took the over. This line is the delineator between blowouts of and close games with (or losses to) Navy. We had seven meaningful possessions. We won 24-17. QED.

Occurrences of “grit” in press conference comments: 50

Result: Not sure, but let’s say over. 58% of the staff and 57% of the readers took the over. I think we were about 70% of the way to the line in the bye week; given that Kelly had even started to use “grit” in the opponent section of his preview pressers, I think we can pretty safely bet we went over.

Dreaded Votes of Confidence handed out by Jack Swarbrick: 1.5

Result: Under, 0. 67% of the staff and the readers took the under. Wise play.

Observer ads taken out by disgruntled alumni: 0.5

Result: Under, 0. 50% of the staff and readers took the under here. Or the over, if you prefer. The unders win, but I think it might have been by a nose – there’s a non-zero probability that somebody somewhere was firing up PowerPoint in the fourth quarter of the Stanford game. Worth pointing out here that the season is not yet over.

Prop Bets

Which coordinator will have the biggest impact in 2017?

Mike Elko was the unanimous choice over Chip Long in both surveys. While both units faded in the last few games, the defense held up better.  I realize this may be a mildly controversial position, given that they allowed 32 points per game over the final three, but they were put in horrible spots by the offense over and over and did reasonably well. The offense, on the other hand… In the big picture, while Long did an admirable job with the offense, Elko took a defense that was much farther away and made it above average in short order. Elko is the winner here.

Who will start at free safety against Temple?

93% of the staff and 91% of the readers took Nick Coleman over the field, based largely on positive practice reports from spring and fall camps.

Who will start at free safety against Stanford?

67% of the staff and 54% of the readers took Coleman to keep his job all year. Coleman wasn’t the second coming of Hayseed – not yet, anyway – but he was a revelation as an integral part of the defense all season. Did you know that he played the third most snaps among defensive players, behind Love and Tranquill and ahead of Morgan? How many times do you remember him getting burned? I’ll wait. On the flip side, how many times do you remember him coming up on a nice run fill, or chasing a runner down to limit a long gain?

Who will lead the team in touchdowns?

75% of the staff and 54% of the readers took Josh Adams over the field. Since Autry Denson capped off his record-setting career in 1998 with 15 touchdowns on the ground, only four Irish players have hit paydirt via the run more times than Adams did this season; unfortunately for him, one of those four was Brandon Wimbush, who logged a spectacular 14 rushing scores. That’s the most for anyone since Denson and the most ever by an Irish quarterback, shattering the previous record of 10 set by Deshone Kizer. There have been a few other recent seasons with as many or more multi-purpose TDs, most notable among them Golden Tate’s 18 in 2009 (15 receiving, 2 rushing, and 1 punt return).

No matter how you slice it, though, Wimbush had an amazing year in the run game. He even has an outside shot at being the first non-kicker to lead the team in scoring since Tate’s absurd 2009 – he currently has 86 points while Justin Yoon has 90. He would need to go off in the bowl game, but it’s possible.

Who will lead the team in sacks?

58% of the staff and 59% of the readers took Daelin Hayes over the field. Hayes wasn’t far off, tied for second with Drue Tranquill and Khalid Kareem at 3.0 sacks each; it was the once-mercurial Jerry Tillery who paced the team, though, with 4.0 sacks from the interior. As noted above, he also recorded 10 hurries, so he was a pain for opposing passers all season.

Who will lead the team in interceptions?

92% of the staff and 82% of the readers took the field over Julian Love. I TOLD YOU NOT TO SLEEP ON JULIAN LOVE! (Please ignore my predictions of rampant success against Georgia, Miami, and Stanford and take this as evidence of my clairvoyance.) Love not only led the team in picks, he was fifth nationally in interception return yards with 153 and tied for second nationally in interception return TDs with 2.

Wrapping Up

Well… If you told us preseason that we would be 9-3 and ranked #15 heading into championship week, I think we all would’ve signed up for that. Yet the way the last few weeks unfolded makes that very position extremely difficult to swallow. Maybe we expected too much too soon, or overlooked some key flaws a little too easily; still, there’s definitely a sense that Lucy pulled the ball away again. So much of how the offseason will feel rides on the bowl game result now. Will we see the Notre Dame team that dominated almost everyone for the first 8.75 games, or the one that flopped around to varying degrees over the last 3.25 games? I cautiously hope for the former, but fear the appearance of the latter. Yay, Irish football!

As Christmas appears on the horizon, I’ll close this by wishing you and yours a happy holiday season. Let’s enjoy the ride for the next few weeks, log some quality time with family and friends, and then hopefully close out the year in style with a big bowl win.

By |2018-05-09T22:25:44+00:00November 30th, 2017|Football|118 Comments

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Eric MurtaughMrTgonMore NoisePublius2010The commenter formerly known as occtipus Recent comment authors
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Hitman
Hitman

Great write up and review.

With the exception of the 2012 BCS game, I think this will be the most important bowl game since Kelly took over. A loss will mean a long, painful offseason. A win might help ease the pain of the last 2 losses.

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

Meh. While a loss would definitely be another negative data point, I’m not sure that a win in a mid-tier bowl moves the needle that much. While it might be something like the Music City Bowl against LSU (perhaps even against the same team), in that it helps with some subjective feelings of hope for next year, it’s hard to see a win meaning much in the long run.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I mean, if Wimbush came out against, e.g., LSU, and threw 80% completion percentage and then after the game revealed that he had been working with a sports psychologist and has gotten over a case of the yips or something, there’d be reason to think the needle has moved. But, short of that, winning one of those Orlando bowl games will probably be a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But that doesn’t mean the game isn’t meaningful, because *losing* one of those bowl games would be quite bad, as Hitman says.

juicebox
juicebox

Or if he came out and let everyone know it turns out he is actually left handed!

mihalko35
mihalko35

There’s something I ought to tell you. I am not right-handed either.

Clearwall
Clearwall

Well, if he uses his right…legacy is over too quickly. It’s the only way he can be satisfied

DCIrish84
DCIrish84

I agree. Winning would not mean much. Losing would be terrible, especially if it is a bad loss, like Stanford or Miami.

Clearwall
Clearwall

If we get trounced is that support or not for removing Kelly?

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

10 wins in a season has to mean something. I would think it would help with recruiting too. I think it will be siginifigant.

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

I actually don’t remember Nick Coleman playing at all this year. On the one hand that’s great because that means he wasn’t at the center of some really bad plays of getting beat. On the other hand it also means he didn’t make many positive plays. On the whole, steady and unspectacular play from a safety is a huge improvement for us.

spider-man
spider-man

Brendan, thanks for taking the time to review the predictions – it helps a little to put things in perspective, especially after the train-wreck ending to the regular season.

One quick idea for a future article (especially for the LONG offseason) – a detailed comparison of recent Stanford to recent ND (Stanford is a school that has similar restrictions as ND, but seems to be outperforming ND). This could include breaking down recruits (rankings, stars, which positions are highest stars, etc), strength of schedule, unique teams in schedule that cause hangovers (e.g., Navy), quality wins, home vs. road performance, restrictions in recruiting, etc. In other words, in what ways have ND and Stanford been similar and in what ways are they different? Also, what could ND learn from what they are doing? Just an idea.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

I think Shaw just plain outcoaches Kelly in this series. He has his number.

Publius2010
Publius2010

I just threw up in my mouth

juicebox
juicebox

Avg composite recruiting ranking:
past 5 classes: ND – 11 / Stan – 24, however, if you exclude 2013 where ND was 5 and Stan was 52, then it is ND – 12 / Stan – 16

Avg Sagarin SoS:
ND – 21/ Stan – 14

Interesting tidbit. Stanford beats a bunch of good Pac12 teams, but they somehow sneak through bowl season every year with really easy opponents. Other than ND (sometimes a good win, sometimes not), here are the P5, non Pac12 teams they have beaten. Tons of ACC foes.
2017 – ND, no bowl yet
2016 – K St, UNC
2015 – Iowa
2014 – Maryland
2013 – None
2012 – Duke, Wisconsin
2011 – Duke
2010 – Wake, VT

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Nice research. I think that’s another important factor in the differences of ND/Stanford is the protections of a conference probably make it a little easier to guide into better bowl position. I know no one really likes to debate independence and it’s a bigger issue than I really care about, but it’s probably easier for Stanford to get to 9-10 wins and be impressive when 2/3 their games are relatively easy-ish games against overmatched conference teams.

Pseudo-joining the ACC kind of kicks Notre Dame down this path since they get 2-3 relatively easy games per year against non-powerhouse ACC teams, but 5 “conference” games is barely half of the normal 9.

Then again, sometimes conference championships can do more harm than good (lol Big12), so there’s pluses and minuses for both situations.

Clearwall
Clearwall

I’ve started thinking about joining a conference myself, too. Posted my thoughts over on TOS about it. There actually do seem to be more positives for joining the ACC than there are to being Independent. As a non-alumn, I’ve never been as die hard about this subject as many others on here. I really just care about this football team dominating and it kind of appears the conference route is more preferrable

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

There’s no such thing as being “a little bit pregnant” but that’s how it feels agreeing to play 5 ACC games a season. If we could know for sure that the playoff is expanding to 6 or 8 teams in the near future, then fine, staying independent seems a lot more viable. As it is, seems like it will take about perfection for ND to crash a 4-team playoff when there’s 5 power conferences to begin with.

This is all strictly from the narrow perspective of “best way to be a national football powerhouse in the modern day landscape” and not all the factors for the complete debate, which obviously change the calculus.

Publius2010
Publius2010

I’ll start worrying about lack of a conference keeping us out of the playoff if we’re ever in contention after Thanksgiving weekend.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

“I think this is an easy one; MTA blew away the competition, emerging as a legitimate front line player at a critical position.”

Robert Hainsey, forever overlooked! (Sorry to nitpick)

Great recap of the early season picks.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Good call. That’s probably a 1A/1B situation (I think MTA is 1A), but they’re both way, way ahead of #3.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

“Observer ads taken out by disgruntled alumni: 0.5”

With no sense of self-awareness, had the team gone 11-1 they would have bought an ad as a congratulation for their efforts to bring back the running game and better defense, as they were the only group able to diagnose these issues to address.

MTI98
MTI98

If you read through the public forum on one of the other sites, you will notice that some individuals have attempted to raise money again. We may need to wait until about 2/1/2018 before closing the book on this particular prop bet.

rudy8655
rudy8655

Not sure where to put this. What are the chances Tennessee rehired Butch Jones because literally no one else will take the job? http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/21619935/dave-doeren-remain-nc-state-their-head-coach-talking-tennessee-taking-program

irish_bandit_10
irish_bandit_10

Now that it’s been almost a week, I’ll just leave this here for perspective.

In a total vacuum, who would be happy with 9-3 against a schedule featuring 10(!) bowl teams and 4 teams playing for a conference championship?

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

That’s one way to frame it, but certainly picks some rosy stats.

An alternative, perhaps more objective way to frame it: if somebody had said in August that we would have the #14 team in S&P+, would you take it?

I think the answer to that question is “eh, probably not, sounds like purgatory/The Gray Zone”. I said in August the worst-case scenario for the season was 8-4 with a 17ish S&P+ (which was basically our S&P+ projection), so this is at least a little better than that. But, still: distinctly worse or distinctly better would have at least move the program forward one way or the other.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Another way of putting it: re-doing this season next year ought to get Brian Kelly fired.

(Not that he shouldn’t have been fired last year.)

kiwifan
kiwifan

Strange, why would we care what that stat is over how many wins we have? Nobody hands out a National S&P+ Championship.

Dan Zibton

This shouldn’t be very difficult to understand:
1. While we’re in contention to win a national title, wins take on more importance than where we stand in predictive/advanced rankings (whether S+P+, FEI, Vegas lines, etc).
2. Even when still in contention, but with games remaining, those things still matter because they suggest your ability to continue to advance towards a national title. Wisconsin and Miami care because it suggests the odds of them winning 3 games as large underdogs is very low, even though they’re basically playing in quarterfinals this weekend.
3. Once you are not in contention anymore, those things become the vast majority of what matters because they are more predictive than W/L record. If Wisconsin or Miami doesn’t win this weekend and misses the playoff, their fans and coaching staff should be viewing them similar to how we viewed the 2012 ND team after they got stomped by Alabama: a flawed team who was good but overachieved via close wins and turnovers, one that was top 10 good but not as elite as is required.

Why do we care about S&P+ more than some generic rosy argument about playing 10 bowl teams? Because the rosy argument is being used to suggest we were thisclose to being thisclose to having a shot to win it all. The predictive analytics would tell you that even heading into the Miami game, we were likely not of the level of quality that is/was needed to get through Miami/Stanford/2 playoff games. And THAT matters a whole lot when judging this program.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Yet in the end, coaches don’t get fired because fans don’t like the advanced stats. They get fired because they don’t win enough.

As for ND going into the Miami game, other than sleep walking on defense vs WF (while our offense continued to run up and down the field), my lying eyes told me this was a powerful team. They ran into a buzz saw in Miami, a team most responsive to its in-game fan clamor—-it’s almost like cocaine to them, so they clobbered us.

Then a sluggish but winning game vs Navy, followed by the 3 minute meltdown vs Stanford. I wonder if the post Navy effect struck again.

Back to the main point, we demolished what’s turned out to be a pretty good USC tam and got demolished by a pretty good Miami team. I think advanced stats are interesting but mostly irrelevant when predicting high intensity, emotional arch-rival games, especially when home field is taken into account.

dannan14
dannan14

If those stats are too rosy for you how about this: ND beat 6 teams with winning records. Only Clemson had more with 7 and UGa was the only other team with 6. ND’s top 5 wins were all in the top 42 of F+. Only Clemson and get this…Wisconsin had a 5th win rated higher.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Like the post above, that’s all cherry-picking. S&P+ factors in the strength of our schedule and how we performed against it. So, with our schedule and performance factored in, we’re the #14ish team in the country. It’s, you know, fine. Not very good, not bad, fine/acceptable as an average-y season.

Given that ND hired our assistants on two year deals and Swarbrick was saying left and right that Kelly would be here a couple years, that type of season shouldn’t get him fired. But if things don’t improve next year, an equivalent season should.

juicebox
juicebox

You guys can hate Kelly and not try to drag everyone else down about this season. Whether or not Kelly should be fired does not change any of the stats these guys mentioned, while 1-year removed from 4-8.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I agree that this season was much better than 2016. Huzzah!

Publius2010
Publius2010

It’s amazing that people trot out the “Kelly improved from 4-8” line as a defense, without realizing that it’s Kelly’s fault we had such an awful 2016 record in the first place.

juicebox
juicebox

My comment has absolutely NOTHING to do with BK. I would rather him be fired at this point, but again, that is completely unrelated to my comment.

ND went 4-8 last year. That is a fact that cannot be changed. ND had a good season this year, irregahdless of who the coach was/is/will be, especially when you take into account that the team sucked last year.

Please don’t let your hate from BK turn into wanting ND to be worse, or belittling a good season, just because that will make it more likely to get fired. Or if you do let your hate for BK turn you into an NDNer, don’t let it spill over into trying to convince people that this was somehow not a good season.

MrTgon
MrTgon

besides liking your sentiment, rec for irreghadless.

kiwifan
kiwifan

Gosh, I thought the players on the field contributed greatly. My bad.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

I consider a top 14 team in the entire country to be a good thing. Would I much rather win a national championship? Of course. I’m fairly content with a top 14 team though. The downward spiral in November bugs the hell out of me though.

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

But after 8 years of no discernable progress in a consistent direction, how long are we supposed to be satisfied with 8-5 to 10-3, top #15-20 types of finishes? Better than Weisingham? Sure. Good enough? I don’t think so.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

That’s fair. I was responding more to this season not being good enough. If we win the bowl game, I want more, but I can settle for that.

Clearwall
Clearwall

.

juicebox
juicebox

AGREED! But can’t believe you would say that about Murtaugh.

Eric Murtaugh

It takes a big man to admit another man is just that handsome.

juicebox
juicebox

Well at least we aren’t Tennessee. Fired their AD today because their coaching search is going so poorly. And they have a more recent National Title than us (although haven’t competed for one nearly as recently). Things could always be worse.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

And I’m pretty sure FSU is going to lose Jimbo. That is just so crazy.

juicebox
juicebox

Yup!

Holy cow. aTm is not even a lateral move. Does anyone know what happened there? Is it because FSU has been getting worse every year since Jameis left and there was mounting pressure? Did he anger too many people by getting in fights with fans? Did aTm pay him Gruden money?

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

From reading a couple different places, sounds like Fisher had a mostly old coaching staff whose message went stale and there was pressure from boosters to have staff turnover but he didn’t want to fire his friends (sounds familiar but I can’t figure out why…)

Then whole relationship with the players, croots and boosters fell apart and seemingly deteriorated quickly in the last week with pressure from a bad season having everyone in a foul mood (again, deja vu). Add in Fisher being open to hear about the A&M job, and potentially use as leverage against FSU which soured things even further.

There’s also reports that the whole staff has been coasting and hasn’t talked to ‘croots in a month, with 3 important kids decommitting all in a single day earlier this week (1, a corner, Houston Griffith that ND had an in-home with and sounds like in great position to flip).

Further, I saw rumors that there could be something crazy in his personal life that he wants to get out of Tallahassee and move on. Seems like he may have recently divorced or something along those lines but no one really knows other than things went really bad, really fast and now everyone is seemingly happier for Fisher moving on. Wild times and very soap opera-y.

https://www.tomahawknation.com/2017/12/1/16723758/jimbo-fisher-florida-state-transfer-texas-am

juicebox
juicebox

Damn. That is not a low stress life.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Yeah, it’s pretty much if Kelly was refusing to make staffing changes last year because he had a preposterous $40 million buyout and he knew he could flex and do what he wanted since no one could really stop or check him…Then still wanted to flirt with other jobs…All the while not really recruiting and challenging fans to fight while demanding loyalty during a losing season, rubbing his players the wrong way as well. Difficult to imagine such a poop-storm like that. I’ll take a George O’Leary moment instead and then move on with the requisite Catholic guilt, thank you very much.

kiwifan
kiwifan

$75 million over 10 Years can be pretty persuasive. The A&M deal for Fisher.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

😂

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

Ok, I just watched the highlight clip of Jerkovich’s last game. Who wears jersey number 15? He might have to give it up.

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

I’ve been following him since he’s a Pittsburgh kid and it’s difficult for me to temper excitement. He’s got all the tools and finally looks like the first QB at ND for a while who can both run AND pass the ball, instead of doing one or the other. What a novel concept!

I just did a quick search and google says Wimbush only had 222 pass attempts in his HS career, that sounds way low. Jurkovec had 700+ HS PA and obviously ripped it up, and WPIAL football isn’t bad competition either, so hopefully more indicative of a more advanced thrower. With respect to David and the #BookClub, I’m hoping it’s Jurkovec time by 2019.

Russell Knox
Russell Knox

How great are these kids with a higher recruiting ranking than him? This guy is a dude.

IrishTexan
IrishTexan

I hope that somehow he’ll be better than other highly touted QBs we’ve had under BK.

Publius2010
Publius2010

NARRATOR VOICE: He won’t be

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

To be fair, odds are good that most of his career will not be under BK, so there’s hope!

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

Wasn’t Golson somehow who could really throw it and could run it? And Wimbush who was more of a thrower who could run? (I mean as incoming recruits.)

hooks orpik
hooks orpik

Fair points. And, to also be fair Kizer was pretty effective running in college even though he was too big too big that fast.

Dan Zibton

In one of the replies to replies to replies to replies, I asked what distribution of *pick your ranking metric* over 8-10 years is the “I’m content” bar set at? I prefer S&P+ or some other advanced metric, and strangely enough, Kelly-backers, you should do the same. At minimum, if you’re using wins, remove the bowl game, for the love of god. Beating Rutgers doesn’t salvage a 7 win season anymore than drawing the 5th best team in a NYD bowl (looking at you, OSU!) invalidates a 10-2 season. Sorry, rant aside over.

Nd09hls said in 8 years (now), ideally you end with two years top 5, two more years top 10, two more years top 18-20, and then two years where he can drop below that, but ideally avoiding like, the 50s. That seems reasonable to me. My pick, over 10 years, typed before his answer was going to be:

2-3 years in the top 5, with ideally at least one where you’re top 2
2-3 years where you’re top 10.
2-3 years in the 10-25 range
2-3 years in the 25-40 range.

Where’s hea actually been:
2010: 7 (wait what?)
2011: 10 (really?)
2012: 5
2013: 31
2014: 34
2015: 7
2016: 26
2017: 14

So per the above requirements, as expected were short on req 1, but make up for it in bucket 2. Were also a little short on req 3, sliding one extra season down from bucket 3 to 4.

I’m not sure what my takeaway was from this. Those numbers look markedly different than if do you do them with win totals. Kelly has a 12, a 10 and a a 9 win season, plus a bunch of 8s/7s and a 4. I would not have guessed that he was as close to the metric I’d figured in my head as he is. If I was doing wins buckets like above, I’d say 2 at 11+, 3 more at 9, 3 at 7-8 and 0 below that.

Given the above, there’s no way we shouldn’t fire him if the next two seasons are top 20+. I’m still disheartened that we haven’t had any teams that make it into the small tail and get to top 2-3, but if half of Kelly’s squads land top 10, you keep rolling him out there. That said, another year below 25 in the next 2 and it’s probably time to understand the reality and move on (especially considering that would be 4 out of the last 7).

Are the buckets right? Close? Thoughts?

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I had to double-check those 2010 and 2011 rankings because, like you said, really?! But, yes, sure enough, 2010 is right. We were #11 in 2011, though (not that it invalidates the general “wait, really?” thought). FWIW, the above mixes up the rankings in 2013 and 2014 too.

All this is to say (and you already basically said this): if you’re a Kelly supporter, you want to argue on S&P+ grounds, because the advanced stats are much more favorable to him than his record.

Dan Zibton

I will say, FEI is markedly less kind. We we’re 42nd last year, 10th in 2012, 7th in 2015, and lower in 2010 and 2011 (which matches with eye test and W/L record). By FEI, it indicates that we’ve basically never been close to a title level team, which when you think about actual team quality.

Irishchamp23
Irishchamp23

So what does this mean with respect to wins and loses? That we’ve had pretty difficult schedules and so less wins than typically expected for the average quality of team that Kelly has put out there?

Dan Zibton

It’s a good question…I’ve been thinking about it and don’t really have a good answer. Some of It is randomness luck and bounces of footballs, some of it isn’t weird volatility in schedule strength and some of it is probably just repeated failure in close games. I don’t really know.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

I can’t believe I’m cheering for USC in a football game right now.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12
MTI98
MTI98

Its a good thing we beat them or they’d likely have a good shot at the top 4.

kiwifan
kiwifan

This USC, ND, Stanford equation is interesting. We crushed USC. USC semi-crushed Stanford, then beat them a second time last night. Yet Stanford semi-crushed us.

Go figure.

kiwifan
kiwifan

By the way, Shaw went for a td on 4th and goal from the 2 vs going for the sure field goal while down 3 late in Q4. Didn’t make it and lost by 3

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

To the points about S&P+ above, I wonder if Miami’s having gotten drilled yesterday combined with FAU winning pretty big will push FAU above us(! wow Lane) and push us to 15. We’re just ahead of FAU as is right now – http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ncaa

Hitman
Hitman

Watching that game last night was painful. I would never root for The U (ok, maybe against Michigan), but as Clemson poured it on the ND loss becomes more and more inexplicable. I realize we don’t match up well with Miami, but to lose that badly is troubling.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Still #14 – FAU did indeed jump up (seriously, is Lane Kiffin actually too good for the Tennessee job now?), but Miami cratered to 19 from 12.

https://www.sbnation.com/2017/12/3/16730228/ncaa-football-rankings-2017-130-teams

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Bama making it in is a *very* good sign for ND going forward. Hypothetical 11-1 ND now has a legit chance of making it in in any given year.

More Noise
More Noise

I concur ! This year’s decision really knocks down that “only conference championsips” argyment.

nd09hls12
nd09hls12

Well, upon further reflection, that requires making the assumption that the Committee will be consistent year-over-year. That perhaps gives them more credit than they deserve. But, if they do, today was a good day for ND football.

dannan14
dannan14

Well, they do actually show some consistency. Picking aOSU last year showed that the eye-test and resume trumped Conference Championship. This year fewer losses trumped CC. Sample size is still small, but i think the evidence might show they’re cognizant of a need for year to year consistency.