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How Notre Dame is perceived in CBS Sports countdown to college football

IMG_9992by:Tyler Horka05/21/24


Notre Dame’s 2024 college football season begins in under 100 days. Patience, Fighting Irish fans. That’s the countdown until Week 0. Notre Dame’s season starts 102 days from Tuesday in College Station, Texas, against the Texas A&M Aggies on Aug. 31.

To celebrate Week 0 being less than 100 days out, though, CBS Sports put together a list of 100 items ranging from storylines, bold predictions, burning questions, national championship contenders and more. Notre Dame references were strewn in throughout the listings.

Here’s where the Fighting Irish came up.

Burning questions

CBS Sports says…
Are we sleeping on Notre Dame? One of the annual activities in the wake of an NFL Draft is to immediately turn the page to the next year’s outlook. When we did that, it became clear that the Fighting Irish have a handful of surefire NFL prospects on the depth chart for 2024. The secondary should be excellent with Benjamin Morrison and Xavier Watts leading the way, defensive lineman Howard Cross is coming off an All-American season and Mitchell Evans is set for a bounce-back year after suffering a season-ending injury in October 2023. Throw in the addition of a proven playmaker like Riley Leonard at quarterback and a wide receiver room that can finally boast about its depth, and you’ve got a squad that should have playoff expectations.”

Blue & Gold says…
Smart people aren’t sleeping on Notre Dame. The Irish have consistently appeared in the top 10 — if not, the top 15 — of every major outlet’s preseason rankings. The program is getting plenty of publicity for the PR savant head coach Marcus Freeman is and the influx of transfers that includes former Duke quarterback Riley Leonard, who isn’t on Sam Hartman’s level of media savvy but certainly holds his own in that regard.

Put it this way — the college football community at large seems cautiously optimistic on Notre Dame. That’s the safe play. Don’t go all-in on preseason hype only to be let down like in 2022 — and even last year with Hartman, to an extent. But do give the Irish their do, which is what it feels like is happening just over three months away from kickoff.

Tier 2 national title contenders

CBS Sports says…
Notre Dame (22-1): If Riley Leonard can stay healthy and the wide receiver room delivers on expectations of taking a step forward, you could be getting a top-five team at a top-10 price here at 22-1. As we mentioned earlier, Notre Dame has a roster and schedule to make the playoff, and Leonard could be the x-factor in a deep run.”

Blue & Gold says…
The upper echelon of tier 2 title contenders, behind only defending national champion Michigan, is a perfect place for Notre Dame.

Are the Irish in the same boat as CBS Sports’ tier 1 teams — Georgia, Ohio State, Texas, Oregon, Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Penn State? In most cases, probably not. Though there are some Irish fans who probably have a gripe with at least a couple of those teams being in the top tier. But even if it’s a perfectly good list, Notre Dame being the 10th-most likely team to win it all is probably fair positioning.

Best non-conference games

CBS Sports says…
Notre Dame at Texas A&M (Aug. 31)

Blue & Gold says…
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. A 1,000 times yes. Notre Dame’s schedule might not be littered with must-see games, but the Irish’s slate starts with one. It should be a fun night deep in the heart of Texas in what CBS Sports labeled the No. 2 non-conference game of the year behind Georgia vs. Clemson.

Heisman Trophy contenders

CBS Sports says…
Riley Leonard, Notre Dame QB (20-1)

Blue & Gold says…
Notre Dame fans would be wise not to beat the Heisman hype drum too loudly this offseason. Wait until October. Remember when Sam Hartman was a Heisman hopeful in mid-September? That ended poorly. All that said, Leonard has the ninth-best Heisman odds per the odds CBS Sports listed, so some people probably aren’t going to be able to contain themselves.

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