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Leftovers & Links: A call for Notre Dame mailbag questions

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Clemson v Notre Dame

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 29: Ian Book #12 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on in the second half against the Clemson Tigers during the College Football Playoff Semifinal Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

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These are the football doldrums, Super Bowl week notwithstanding. Notre Dame’s coaching staff is (reportedly) filled out, with an announcement singing new running back coach Lance Taylor’s praises only HR-approval away. The Irish roster churn will still include a few more departing players, but those decisions are less and less likely to be known before late spring, if not summer. Next week’s National Signing Day will include no more than two additions to the Notre Dame class of 2019, perhaps none.

It is a good thing February is the shortest month of the year, because it is also the month with the least remotely-rational football conversation.

Help change that, will ya? Send questions, comments, conversation starters to

Otherwise, yours truly may continue spending Monday nights watching 24-hour old NBA games without pondering football at all. Luka Dončić’s second career triple-double made that borderline understandable this week, but expecting that excuse to arise often is to actually put too high of expectations on the Slovenian sensation.

Your input is appreciated in advance. Until then …

If Notre Dame is a top-10 team in 2019, it is worth keeping an eye on the other nine.

And the Irish will be in most, if not all, preseason top-10 rankings. At that level, a single loss makes the season’s result more dependent on others’ losses than on anything else. With trips to both Georgia (Sept. 21) and Michigan (Oct. 26) on the docket, a loss is more likely than not.

Remembering who the rest are, and their likelihoods of suffering losses, will provide context through the offseason and into September. With that in mind, a thought experiment from SBNation prompts pertinent forecasting:

Given Notre Dame would need to beat at least one of Georgia or Michigan, and probably both, and then top presumably two of the top four or five teams listed to win the title, its 25-to-1 odds seem fair. As a whole, keeping an eye on the offseasons of all these listed is time decently well spent. (Note: Both Virginia Tech and USC, Irish opponents in 2019, are already having atrocious offseasons.)

If forcing this space to commit to a team other than Alabama or Clemson, it will take Oklahoma at 10-to-1.

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