Michigan Wolverines (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(1-0 SU, 0-0-1 ATS), Week 2 NCAA Football, 3:30 p.m. EST, Saturday,
September 11, 2010, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind., TV: NBC
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Mich +4/ND -4
Two teams that are both coming off of impressive season opening wins
last week will renew their annual rivalry on Saturday when the
Michigan Wolverines travel to South Bend to take on the Fighting
Irish of Notre Dame in Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame opened up the Brian Kelly era last weekend with a solid
23-12 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers at home, giving Kelly a
win in his head coaching debut at the legendary school. Untested
quarterback Dayne Crist answered a few questions with a solid
performance behind center, and the Irish defense continually
frustrated and swarmed the Purdue offense to key the big victory.
Meanwhile, the rocky tenure of Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez also got
off to a fast start last weekend when the Wolverines beat a tough
team from Connecticut in impressive fashion, 30-10. A lot of the
talking heads on the four-letter sports network predicted a UConn
upset in the Big House, but quarterback Denard Robinson had a great
day running and passing the ball to lead the Wolverines to the big
season opening victory.
Now both teams will face a stiffer test in week two, with the winner
getting bragging rights for a year and a step up in the recruiting
battles they will likely engage in throughout the Midwest region.
Oddsmakers opened this game with Notre Dame as 4-point favorites at
home, but early action at the window has dropped it down the hook to
3.5-points at most of the sportsbooks on the net. Most betting sites are still listing the point spread at 4-points, and the books in Las Vegas are still at 4 too, so if you like the Wolverines here you might have to jump on the number early before it
goes down more.
As of press time there has yet to be an over/under total released for this game.
Offensively this game revolves around the two quarterbacks.
Notre Dames Crist was accurate (19-for-26) and efficient in his
first start as a Golden Domer, distributing the ball to seven
different receivers while throwing for 205 yards and a touchdown. He
ran the Irishs new spread offense well and got the ball to talented
perimeter players Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph (both had five
catches), while running backs Armando Allen (93 yards) and Cierre
Wood (58 yards) both ran the ball strong against the Purdue defense.
After some uncertainty as to who would be the Wolverine starter at
QB, Robinson went out and showed why he was the one picked with 383
yards of total offense (197 on the ground) and two scores against the
Huskies. Robinson ran the Rich Rod spread-option offense very well,
especially on third down where the Wolverines were an outstanding 14-
for-19 on 3rd down attempts.
But Robinson will be facing a different beast in the Notre Dame
defense, a defense that flashed its overall team speed in limiting
the Purdue running game to just 102 yards rushing. Granted, Purdues
running game is nothing like the Michigan attack, but with speedy
linebacker Manti Teo coming from the inside out, and corners Gary
Gray and Darin Walls filling hard on the outside the Irish look like
they have a firm grasp on the new 3-4 scheme theyre running in South
Bend this year.
If Notre Dame can force Robinson to throw the ball by stopping the
run, the Wolverines will have a hard time getting near the 473 yards
of total offense they had last week against UConn.
Michigans defense on the other hand controlled the Huskies running
game, the one facet of the UConn offense that was supposed to be
their strength, holding them to 138 yards on the ground. Look for the
Irish to try and take advantage of the Michigan secondary in this
game, a unit that gave up 205 yards passing to UConn, especially
since the Wolverines are already thin at safety with Troy Woolfolk,
Carvin Johnson and Junior Hemingway all out or questionable for the
game come Saturday.
Last season there was very little defense played in the Wolverines
late 38-34 victory over the Irish at home. Tate Forcier scrambled for
a 31-yard touchdown in the closing minutes to give the Wolverines the
win in a game that had over 900 yards of total offense (ND 490; Mich
Michigan covered the 3-point spread in last years game and has
covered in three of the last four games in the head-to-head series.
Although home cooking seems to be the key, as the home team is a
strong 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings. The series has been kind
to the underdog too, with the live dog going 5-1 ATS in the last six
Michigan hasnt fared well at Notre Dame Stadium though, as they are
just 1-4 ATS on the road in their last five visits.
The over has also been a very strong play in the Michigan-Notre Dame
series, going over the total in seven of the last 10 games. The over
is also 5-0 in the last five games at Notre Dame Stadium.
Badgers Pick to Beat the Spread: Without a total on this game yet, its really hard to
recommend a wager. Both teams have the talent, its going to come
down to execution. Im leaning toward the Irish here simply because I
think Kelly is the better coach and I think hell have them prepared.
Take Notre Dame minus the 3.5.