If you’re anything like me, you’ve already taken a pencil to the 2012 schedule wondering how many wins the Irish will muster. I’ve been playing this little guessing game for years and usually get the final record right within a game or two.
Last year, I missed on the South Florida game like the rest of the football knowing world. Michigan and Michigan State are a coin toss every year. So, I guess those games as such, penciling in one win and one loss against the Michigan institutions. Pitt, Purdue, Air Force, Wake, Maryland, and BC were all wins in the Irish column. That’s how I penciled it in, and that’s how it happened. My downfall was really with USC. I assumed a USC team with Lane Kiffin at the helm would lose on karma alone, but it turns out the Trojans were probably a BCS team if not for some cheating ways during Pete Carroll’s tenure.
There was little doubt in my mind that the Notre Dame-Stanford matchup would be a game of the century type battle. I assumed a one loss Irish team would face a one loss or undefeated Stanford team with a BCS game on the line. So I missed a bit with the 2011 season. But that day is gone.
Here’s how it think it will shake out in 2012. Obviously, I’m hoping for a 12 game win streak, but I’m a realist. Nothing has pointed to that level of success in South Bend YET!
• Purdue, not really a competitive team since Joe Tiller left, will be another ‘W’. You’ve got to be a little curious about Robert Marve’s return for a sixth year, but the talent around him is lackluster.
• Michigan and Michigan State are no different in 2012 than they were in 2011. Like I stated above, they’re a coin toss every year. Pick one for a win and one for a loss.
• Miami at Soldier Field will be a fun little party that will evoke memories of Catholics vs. Convicts. Those highlights never get old for me. So I welcome Miami week with open arms, both for the highlights of previous games and the win that the Irish will take from the 2012 matchup.
• Stanford, to put it quite simply, is out of Luck. Irish eyes are smiling with another Win and a 5-1 record.
• BYU is a religious battle that really shouldn’t be a contest. Chalk up an Irish win in this one.
• Oklahoma has to scare the Irish faithful a bit. A Perennial power with a pile of returning starters will be a challenge, but I’m guessing a low score creates a decided advantage for the home team as the Irish drop their second game of the year.
• Pittsburgh – YAWN. New coach, new system, same results. The best part of the Pitt game is watching Lou Holtz grin from ear to ear as he does the highlights with Mark May sitting next to him.
• Boston College lost the only player that made this a competitive game in 2011, Luke Kuechly. I’m seeing a Dub-Dub-Dubbleyou for the Catholics from South Bend.
• Wake Forest was fun last year. After sneaking out of Winston-Salem with a win, I had about 1000 times more respect for the Wake football program, but 2012 will bring the same results as 2011. Catholics over the Demon Deacons in a big way.
• Finally, a game worth getting excited about after a November full of mediocre opponents. USC with Matt Barkley is better than Notre Dame with 3 quarterbacks. So, this game will probably be determined by whether or not the Irish have an established quarterback after 11 weeks of play. Let’s assume that happens and chalk this one up for the Irish win column.
That’s a solid 10-2 campaign. Probably good enough to take a BCS spot from Boise State, but not good enough to take a BCS spot from the fifth place team in the SEC. In case you didn’t hear, the SEC is a level above everybody else (wink, wink).
You decide! How will it all shake out?