Notre Dame has grown and developed exponentially since Brian Kelly took over in 2010. They have gone undefeated in the regular season three times. They have made the playoffs several times. They put guys in the NFL in every position. They’ve gone from irrelevant to a perennial top 10 program and the haters are furious. I can just imagine the comments section getting ready to type angrily that they don’t play anyone and don’t belong in the series. It doesn’t matter that the data NEVER saves the schedule and people arrive on ND to not be in a conference and play Navy every year while Alabama plays Utah State, Louisiana-Monroe and Austin-Peay this year in addition from Vanderbilt.
That said, there is still a gap between Notre Dame and Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia over the past few years. Perhaps the biggest gap between Notre Dame and these schools has been at the most important position. Notre Dame hasn’t had a real QB difference maker since probably Brady Quinn. I loved Ian Book and he was a great college QB, but he’s not on the same level as Deshaun Watson, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Bryce Young, Mac Jones, etc.
For the first time, from a pure ability standpoint… ND could have his man. Do you remember the 2012 season of Notre Dame? It was mostly Everett Golson as QB1 who was sometimes spelled out by 2011 starter and now OC Tommy Rees. I’ve spent this whole year wishing Notre Dame could use their biology department to put the head and heart of Tommy Rees into Golson’s body. Golson had all the talent, Rees had all the brains and if they came in one package it would be amazing. Now… they’re doing a bit with Buchner. We saw the wheels. We saw arm flashes. Rees talks his head off
“I think he’s worked extremely hard this offseason. I think he’s worked extremely hard in camp. The mental capacity he has is extremely high. I think as we continue on this way, there will be more and more growth for him.
If Notre Dame finally has a quarterback who can genuinely make a similar number of plays to his counterpart at Ohio State, the Irish will have a chance to knock out one of the big boys. I couldn’t be more excited. Buchner just needs to stay healthy and get some weapons on the outside. Or throw it at Mayer every time. It’s good too.