I live in Ann Arbor, and the talk all summer has been Notre Dame, not Ohio State.
The Fighting Irish make their last scheduled visit to the Big House to play Michigan. This city will be electric on Saturday night. The game should not disappoint.
Notre Dame at Michigan
My preseason rankings predict a 2 point Notre Dame win on the road over Michigan.
However, we’ve had a week of games to watch. Since numbers will never tell you everything about football, it would be crazy to ignore those insights.
Michigan easily defeated Central Michigan 59-9 last week. While the score reflected the dominance that Michigan showed in the game, they still had some flaws.
QB Devin Gardner threw two interceptions and came out tentative on his early throws. The safety position became an issue when Thomas Gordon got suspended for the game and his back up blew a few coverages.
However, the biggest question is Michigan’s pass rush. Can they pressure Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees by only rushing 4 defensive linemen? Michigan registered 4 sacks against Central Michigan but only one by a lineman (although the stats are missing another sack by lineman).
Notre Dame beat Temple 28-6 last weekend. The defense looked lethargic, allowing Temple QB Connor Reilly to move the ball in his first start. You expect dominance from the front seven that only lost two starters. However, Notre Dame even called a few blitzes early in the second half to try to slow down Temple.
Notre Dame’s defense should play much better against Michigan. The Fighting Irish have loads of talent on both sides of the ball. Look for WR TJ Jones and RB Amir Carlisle to make big plays.
Even though the line favors Michigan by 4, I expect a close, 50-50 game. A field goal attempt will decide the outcome.
South Carolina at Georgia
“Clowney sluggish but Gamecocks win 27-10.”
Sports writers have to find a story. This one picked on one of the most recognizable names in college football when he had a lackluster game. In reality, South Carolina’s defense held North Carolina to 3.8 yards per play, significantly better than the 5.7 FBS average.
South Carolina has an elite defense, now ranked 3rd by yards per play adjusted for strength of schedule (this ranking considers data from last season). They face a Georgia offense ranked 2nd. The clash of these two elite units will be the most interesting match up of this game.
Georgia’s loss to Clemson by 3 last weekend doesn’t change my opinion of them. While they were a slight favorite on the road, the Bulldogs bobbled a snap on a field goal attempt. Had they converted, Georgia probably forces overtime at Clemson and potentially wins the game.
Both my preseason numbers and the Vegas line predict a 3 or 4 point win for the home team Georgia.
Central Arkansas at Colorado
Last weekend, Southern Illinois, my 13th ranked FCS school from last season, traveled to Illinois. The Salukis had a chance to tie the game in the final minutes, eventually losing by 8. My prediction gave Southern Illinois a 53% chance to win, while the line favored Illinois by 17.
This week, another top FCS team travels to meet one of the worst BCS teams. Central Arkansas, 14th in my FCS rankings last year, goes to Boulder to play Colorado. Central Arkansas won 9 games last season, beating a Sam Houston State team that made the championship game. Colorado won, well, 1 game last season.
Central Arkansas as a 43% chance to pull of the upset (line has Colorado by 13).
Thanks for reading.