The Irish know where they are bowling, in Florida at the Gator Bowl. The matchup pits Notre Dame against the other USC, South Carolina, with both teams sporting an 8-4 record and ranked inside the top 25.
There are plenty of thoughts that have passed through my head since the game was announced, some pretty big questions about the future of both programs. We will know much more in the coming days but that still didn’t answer some of the pressing questions that surround this game that will be played a day before New Year’s Eve. Find out below some of the first thoughts I had about this matchup.
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I’ve never like Spencer Rattler the person
This goes back pretty far for me and there is proof of this as well. If you remember that Netflix followed around high schools quarterbacks in a documentary named QB1, Rattler was one of them. He was a star in Arizona before signing with Oklahoma and his attitude rubbed me the wrong way. Rattler never seemed like a true team player, he was also about himself. However…
Respect his ability
Rattler is supremely talented. He has an NFL arm and is very agile in his pocket movements. It has shown during his last two games, as he’s been on fire. Against two top 10 teams in Tennessee and Clemson, Rattler completed 55 of his 68 attempts for 798 yards and 8 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions. He added one rushing score in that span as well, accounting for an impressive 9 touchdowns. This is the kind of ability he has but fortunately for the Irish, Rattler is extremely inconsistent. There is also a rumor that he could transfer but Rattler does intend on playing in the Gator Bowl.
Is Tyler Buchner really ready?
After suffering what everyone perceived was a season ending injury, it looks like the starter is back to 100% and practicing according to Marcus Freeman. Putting Buchner at risk again is an iffy proposition, but luckily this is the last real game for over 8 months. It is worth it, in my estimation, for the Irish to get him back on the field and see what he can do. Buchner needs as many live-action game reps as he can get after his extensive recent injury history.
Is Freeman’s comment about an open competition true?
There is a caveat with Buchner, however, as it looks like there will be an open competition with Steve Angeli and Ron Powlus III in the running to start against South Carolina. That alone makes me wonder if Buchner truly has been cleared to play again. If he’s not ready, I’d give the keys to Angeli and see what he can do. The competition for starting quarterback needs to go right up until next year’s season opener and not cut short like it was this fall.
Who will opt out?
With the College Football Playoff still at four teams, players who are going to move on to the NFL don’t have much incentive to play in a bowl game. For Notre Dame, it’s tight end Michael Mayer and defensive end Isaiah Foskey who have the biggest decisions in front of them. It seems like Freeman is giving them some time to ponder over a decision, but we should know fairly soon what each of these Irish stars end up doing.