Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 7/30/12

There certainly was no shortage of storylines in South Bend this offseason. Start with the quarterback controversy, and the fact that last year’s starter, Tommy Rees, is trying to get back in good graces after getting busted for underage intoxication and resisting arrest.

His sister even has an alcohol offense on her recent rap sheet. Also getting busted at the same time as Rees was starting linebacker Carlo Calabrese, so it’s safe to say he lost his starting gig too. Then Davaris Daniels, a receiver expected to try and help fill the void left Michael Floyd (himself no stranger to DUIs) got busted for booze.

Davaris Daniels underage drinking citation.

You’re not helping the stereotype surrounding the good Irish people, when a team nicknamed the Fighting Irish is racking up drinking offenses.

 

2011 was: another solid by most places but very disappointing by ND standards kind of year, 0-4 bookended 8-1 and another bowl appearance resulted in a loss to cap off an 8-5 campaign. They were 118th in the nation in turnover margin- that says it all. No QB, Rees, Dayne Crist or Andrew Hendrix could keep the ball.

Meghan Rees’ arrest details.

Tommy Rees’ arrest details.

2012 will go smoothly if: bet you can guess….huh? you know what the key is for Notre Dame? C’mon guess…..TAKING CARE OF THE FOOTBALL! I shocked you didn’t I? This is a transitional year for the Brian Kelly regime. Lots of key cogs are gone, and starters need to be replaced all over both sides of the ball. If they can eke out 7 wins out of this monster of a schedule that’s a success! It won’t be easy and it begins in Dublin versus Navy. Oh glory be!

Is Andrew Hendrix the new favorite to be the starter

Tailback depth, a weakness a year ago is now strong with Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III.

2012 will be rough if:The new starters on the OL don’t gel, the defense has issues replacing Aaron Lynch, the defector to South Florida. He was expected to be the team’s best pass rusher by a long shot and likely the unit’s second best player behind ILB Manti Te’o. There are question marks at the other LB positions and in the secondary where the safeties are solid but the corners have zero experience. It’s a good thing that Gary Gray is gone (even though he had a very rare anagramed name) but it’s a very bad thing that Harrison Smith is gone. There’s a bunch of question marks.

BMOC: Te’o, Everett Golson, or whoever gets the starting QB gig, Wood, TE Tyler Eifert is as good as it gets at his position, and could even see time at running back or receiver. C Braxston Cave, DL Stephon Tuitt, Kapron Lewis-Moore, S Jamoris Slaughter

All Name team: Cave and Slaughter, also Prince Shembo

Bottom Line: They should be better than .500 as 7-8 wins could happen, but is not guaranteed. It all starts with who gets the keys to the offense? Hendrix? Golson? Probably not Rees. And of course whether they KEEP THE FOOTBALL OR NOT? Look for big seasons from Wood, PK Nick Tausch and Te’o. But with this schedule…it’ll be time to think about 2013-14 at Notre Dame. After all this season really is nothing more but a bridge to that anyway.

Rankings:

Lindy’s- 33, Athlon- 20, Phil Steele-

All the 77s

#33 NC State

#34 Iowa

#35 BYU

#36 UCF

#37 Washington

#38 Tennessee

#39 Rutgers

#40 Penn State

#41 Baylor

#42 Texas Tech

#43 Pittsburgh

#44 Cincinnati

#45 Mississippi State

#46 North Carolina

#47 Northwestern

#48 Miami, FL

#49 California

#50 SMU

#51 South Florida

#52 UConn

#53 UCLA

#54 Illinois

#55 Vanderbilt

#56 Washington St.

#57 Wake Forest

#58 Ole Miss

#59 Purdue

#60 Iowa St

#61 Kentucky

#62 Arizona State

#63 Boston College

#64 Ohio

#65 Marshall

#66 Arizona

#67 Southern Miss

#68 Tulsa

#69 Oregon State

#70 Houston

#71 Syracuse

#72 Colorado

#73 Kansas

#74 Maryland

#75 Duke

#76 Minnesota

#77 Indiana

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

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