No. 2: Notre Dame
Do not underestimate the power of an off-the-field distraction/potential academic scandal looming over the heads of 18-23-year-old for an entire season, especially at a prestigious institution like Notre Dame.
The Irish pride themselves on scheduling a bevy of national contenders and avoiding the cupcakes. While their partial inclusion in the ACC has changed scheduling flexibility, the 2014 slate remains chucked with tough foes. Michigan, Stanford, North Carolina, Florida State, Navy, Arizona State, Louisville and USC are far from assumed victories. Northwestern, Purdue and Syracuse could prove difficult if Notre Dame continues their infamous trend of closer-than-expected ballgames.
Brian Kelly has hit a crucial junction in his tenure, one that could see 2014 end in horror with a 5-7 record.
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