Commentary

Land mines for Notre Dame, more

Flaws that could haunt Notre Dame, South Carolina and other top-15 teams

Updated: August 10, 2011, 12:39 PM ET
By Jeff Dooley | ESPN Insider
Brian KellyAP Photo/Darron CummingsIf Brian Kelly is going to lead the Fighting Irish to where they want to go, the offense must improve.

All the teams in ESPN.com/ESPN The Magazine's preseason top 25 poll made rank because they have lots of positive things going for them. But nobody's perfect, and to identify the things that could hold these teams back, we sent them through ESPN Insider's Eliminator model.

This week we'll examine five teams per day, picking out the statistical weakness that could trip up each team, and the three teams/games that could exploit them (the land-mine games, if you will). Each stat is drawn from our Eliminator model and thus is a category that correlates strongly to success in college football. The minimum benchmark met by each conference and BCS champ and the average of past champs is provided for each.

Today, we continue with the teams ranked No. 15 through No. 11.


15. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-5 in 2010)

Statistical category: Yards per play

BCS benchmark: 5.8 yards per play (6.6 average)

Notre Dame in 2010: 5.5

Brian Kelly scored points for upgrading the Irish's defense in just one season as head coach, but his offense fell short in several areas in 2010.