Notre Dame To The BCS? Not If It Doesn’t Fix Something First
Considering last weekendâ€™s bye week, Notre Dame is now entering into its second straight week sitting at 4-0, ranking in the Top 10, and coming up conversations of the National Championship. Now Iâ€™m just as excited about each of these things as the next Irish fan, but letâ€™s not allow this hyped up media coverage and escalated ranking to keep us from seeing common sense: if the Irish are to pull this off, then they are going to have to jump some serious offensive hurdles.
It seems as if every team starts and ends with the quarterback. A defense can be as unstoppable as a brick wall, but if the offense – spurred on by the QB – is not posting those TDs on the scoreboard then there is no way to compete with the likes of SEC powerhouses such as Alabama and LSU.
This season, Everett Golson has as many touchdowns as he has interceptions (3). The offense is only converting 42.31 percent of third downs. They are ranked 86thÂ overall in both average passing yards and average rushing yards. In order for Notre Dame to be able to compete in the long stretch, itâ€™s clear that Golson needs to get more comfortable running the ND offense. And fast. Or else Brian Kelly should yield the offense to veteran Tommy Rees – who has become Notre Dameâ€™s sort-of â€ścloserâ€ť – when Golsonâ€™s inexperience has shone through.
The upside is that Golsonâ€™s offensive woes COULD be attributed to just that: inexperience. Itâ€™s no secret that Notre Dameâ€™s offense is a much more newly minted entity than is its defense, led by senior Manti Teo. The trouble comes in the fact that the only way to combat inexperience isâ€¦ experience. But can Golson simultaneously come to grips in the pocket AND continue Notre Dameâ€™s undefeated record against the likes of Stanford, Oklahoma and USC? Such are the hurdles that Golson will have to clear while becoming comfortable in the pocket – no small feat.
I can hear the Irish optimists screaming, â€śBut we already ARE undefeated!â€ť and â€śGive Golson a break!â€ť but fact is that when competing with other undefeated conference powerhouses like Alabama, Oregon, and FSU in the top 10, one loss may almost certainly be the death of Notre Dameâ€™s appearance in the National Championship conversation. I wish we had the grace period to allow Golson to adjust, but we donâ€™t – that period has passed and itâ€™s time to see what Golson and the rest of the Notre Dame offense is truly capable of.