Wed Jun 03 02:59pm EDT
Well, somebody had to do it:
Considering the conflagration of a) an extremely veteran roster that's already taken its share of lumps as highly touted young 'uns, b) a relatively user-friendly schedule and c) a penchant for at least one or two examples of fairly obvious contrarianism in the summer polls, opinion on Notre Dame's "Return to Glory or Else" year has been pretty restrained: The Irish only barely cracked the top 20 in a handful of the "pre-preseason" polls in the spring, and among the more prominent magazines hitting the stands the last couple weeks, ND is snubbed completely by Lindy's top 25 while only checking in at No. 24 according to Athlon. Reasonable enough, you say.
Leave it to the man, the prognosticative legend, the Web-averse Steele to break the bank on optimism in his annual tome. Steele doesn't stop with Ole Miss; no, everyone is falling for Ole Miss. He's staking the rep of his labyrinthine internal logic on the BCS-busting prowess of a team that's 10-15 the last two years, with 15 losses in its last 16 games against teams that finished above .500. That logic has been right before when everyone else was wrong -- see Arkansas 2006 -- but I'm not sure it's been up against this kind of test.
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Hat tip on the photo to the ever-connected Spence Hall, who's already laid his hands on this year's masterpiece of minutiae while the rest of us are still camped beside our local newsstands.