The thought that a team should ever overlook another team in sports couldn't be echoed louder for the Fighting Irish in their Week 1 opener against Rice.

Recent memory reflects such a mistake.

September 4,2011 saw a top ranked Irish team(#16) open their season with some high expectations.

Several rain delays and a quarterback substitution changed the fate of Notre Dame football that year.

The first 2 hour delay came at halftime with South Florida up 16-0, and an Irish locker room would ponder not only how wet the conditions were outside, but how damp their fate was.

The game started fast for the Irish with a drive after the opening kickoff all the way to the 1, which turned into a fumble recovery for USF and a day many would love to forget.

Tommy Rees replaced Dayne Crist, rain delays changed the attitudes of one team and the fate of another, and a former legendary coach saw his son(Skip Holtz) upend the season for Notre Dame.

2014 will be different-sort of.

First, there's no Holtz walking either sideline.

Notre Dame has a proven starter at the helm in Everett Golson.

The Irish running game is a force comprised of three players that could start on any team in college football, and can control an entire game.

A core group of offensive linemen will keep any threat of a defensive surge on behalf of the Owls from ever being a factor this Saturday.

The defensive front is anchored by a player that will become one of the nation's elite interior linemen in Sheldon Day.



The backline of linebackers includes perhaps the nation's best overall player behind Jamies Winston of Florida State- Jaylon Smith.

There are several offensive weapons at the receiver spot emerging for Notre Dame and they will highlight the offense in this game as Golson should find some oppurtunities while his backs of Folston,Bryant and Cam McDaniel force the Owls to protect the line.

Tight end Ben Koyack will launch his game as the next NFL tight end coming out of South Bend.

And a defensive line will seek an identity, as several players from freshmen to seniors rotate frequently to cement their spot in the starting unit.

They have strength in numbers because of the impact of 2 recruiting classes that hit it big with players like Jay Hayes and Andrew Trumbetti.

So, the table is set for the Irish to open the season as a heavy favorite over an inferior team to start their season 1-0.

With new uni's in tow and a new surface.

And a new defensive coach.

Did we mention Mother Nature yet?

Rain is forecasted for the end of the week in South Bend.

Friday is going to be wet, and it could carry into Saturday.

Don't bet against security perched at every entrance with photo's of the entire Holtz family.

And of course there's the lingering issue of Williams,Russell,Moore and Daniels-the 4 players enduring an academic investigation/issue.

The bigget loss will be felt by Russell long term if all are ruled ineligible.

His impact will arise against Michigan in week 2,but his abscence shouldn't be felt this Saturday as well as the other 3 players.

Talent alone should help the Irish win atleast 8 games this season.

And whatever transpires with the 4 suspended players or Mother Nature, Notre Dame will win their 2014 home opener.