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What would you consider to be a successful season?


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I'm hearing pIlayoff or bust

I'm hearing host and win a home playoff game

A season hasn't been this hyped in 12 years. Even Kelly in year 3 came as a surprise to many.

The hype train started for me when they hired Denbrock away from LSU for four years.

Signed Al Golden for four years

Kept Chad Bowden

Defense Returns Key players.

Third different offense in 3 years

Kickers are like a revolving door.

Schedule looks winnable (opener really matters)

 

 

 

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I feel it’s playoff or bust for me this year.

My rationale is it’s Freeman’s 3rd season, and while he’s brining in a whole new offense, the defense is bringing back a lot and on a 3rd season as well. This schedule is also prime for the Irish to go 11-1, so I see them finishing ranked 5th or 6th. The Irish having a home field playoff game in December will be a huge benefit! I see them winning in the first round, moving on to the quarterfinals and winning there too, then making it to the semifinals.

However, I think the Irish will lose in the semifinals. I would love to be wrong though! Ultimately, I believe 2025 is the year they win it all!

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Definitely playoff or bust this year and the next and the next etc. I'm expecting at least 10-2 this season. I have a lot of faith in MF, although it's frankly about time to see some stellar results from the improvement in recruiting, our 5* OC and DC, and the general improvement regarding most everything about ND football since BK left!

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Mike
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tneun89 was awarded the badge 'Great Content' and 30 points.

Definitely Playoff-or-Bust for me. Probably the most hyped team since 2020 (many predicted ND would make the Playoff prior to the season that year). 

Reasons why I think this ND should not only make the Playoff but win at least one game:

  • Two of the best coordinators in college football. Golden in Year 3 with a veteran and talented defense should scare the living daylights out of opponents. This might be the best defense we've had since at least 2018, if not 2012 (and it should be even better). Denbrock gives me a lot more confidence in Riley Leonard than I'd have otherwise. I would be shocked if he had a Jayden Daniel type year, but Leonard should be one of the best QBs in CFB this season.
  • Freeman in Year 3. Every ND fan knows Year 3 is basically make or break. You could see how much Freeman improved from Year 1 to Year 2. He sounds very confident heading into Year 3. He's put his mark on the program, and he knows how he wants it run. A confident coach with a talented roster is dangerous.
  • The defense as a whole. Veteran, talented DL (Cross, Mills, Oben, Botelho, Rubio) plus some young guys who could/should emerge (Traore, Young). A young, talented LB corps (Ausberry, Sneed, Bowen) lead by a true veteran in Kiser. Probably the best secondary ND has had since the 90s (Morrison, Watts, Gray, Mickey, Heard).
  • Playmakers on offense (Leonard, Price, Love, Collins, Mitchell, Thomas, Faison, Evans, Raridon). 
  • Veteran kicker (Jeter) who won't be afraid of the moment and should be more accurate than Schrader.
  • The schedule. This is a schedule that sets up ND for success. 11-1 should be the minimum here.

Concerns that might prevent this team from advancing in the Playoffs:

  • Inexperienced offensive line with question marks at the tackle spots. The presumed starters are (left to right): Jagusah, Schrauth, Craig, Spindler/Coogan, Baker. Those guys have all started at least one game (maybe Schrauth hasn't?), but only Spindler/Coogan have started at least the majority of a season. Baker really needs to step up. It sounds like Jagusah is entrenched as the LT, per Freeman recently.
  • Concerns with Leonard and the WRs. Leonard is a good college QB, but he struggled a lot last year, even before the injury against ND (which derailed his entire season). He really needs to improve his accuracy, but I'm banking on Denbrock to bring the best out of him. Also, his running abilities make him prone to injury. The WRs are certainly better than what ND has had in a few seasons, but there is no true #1/alpha. 
  • Playoff/big game experience. Certainly, you can't impart BK's failure in big games to MF, but Freeman has also fallen short in his fair share already. If ND wins the first game (which could/should be a home game), they will face the elite of the elite in the next rounds. To win it all, ND would have to beat some combination of Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Ohio State, Oregon, etc. It'll be tough to win a game against one of those teams, much less the 2-3 it would take to win the whole thing.
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I'm easy to please. I just want to see the clear, steady progress continue. Clean up the coaching mistakes (especially late in games), help the players show how talented they are, hit explosive plays on offense, and the results should take care of themselves. 

I think the team is likeable. If they can be entertaining from start to finish, I'll consider the season a success. 

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11-1 regular season.  Then win at least one playoff game.

The schedules this year and next year are prime for a strong ND showing.  Yes, there are some challenging games.  But good teams win those games.  Good coaches set it up, and good players execute.

11-1.  Nothing less.

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Anything less than 11-1 and a playoff win in round 1 is a failure to me.  This team is solid all the way through and has improved on the weaknesses (WR) from last season.  If they stay healthy, this is no doubt attainable for them.  The schedule is ripe and the talent is there.  Defense will be solid again and the offense should improve. 

They cannot settle on just making the playoff, they need a marquee win to show progress for the program.  Getting to the game isnt enough anymore, they have to win these games now.  Week 1 will tell a lot if not all.  GO IRISH

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4 hours ago, InLikeFlynn said:

Anything less than 11-1 and a playoff win in round 1 is a failure to me.  This team is solid all the way through and has improved on the weaknesses (WR) from last season.  If they stay healthy, this is no doubt attainable for them.  The schedule is ripe and the talent is there.  Defense will be solid again and the offense should improve. 

They cannot settle on just making the playoff, they need a marquee win to show progress for the program.  Getting to the game isnt enough anymore, they have to win these games now.  Week 1 will tell a lot if not all.  GO IRISH

Pretty much exactly how I feel! Well said!

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It's a playoff appearance or bust for me as well. Honestly, I feel like ND should be at least 11-1 this year. If they go 12-0, they have to win at least one playoff game this year as they would be the #5 seed and get home field against a Group of 5 team (most likely).

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they have only had six one loss seasons in 35 years...it's incredibly tough to do in the unfair and uneven landscape of today's game, so...

I'll be happy with at least one playoff win

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