Michigan Wolverines(1-0SU,1-0ATS) vs.Notre Dame Fighting Irish(1-0SU,1-0ATS)
College Football Week2
Date and Time:Saturday, September 6 7:30pm ET
Where:Notre Dame Stadium South Bend, IN
byEvergreen,Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:MICH +4/ND -4
Week One of the NCAA Football season kicked off with some great matchups and there are several solid tilts this week as well, including another addition in the Michigan/Notre Dame rivalry. The Wolverines and Irish are meeting for the 41sttime, the first coming in 1887 and Michigan owns the edge in the series with a 24-16-1 overall record. These teams have met every year since 2002 but this will be the last installment for some time as the schools have agreed to not schedule each other through the 2019 season.
Notre Dame enters the week as the higher ranked team with the Irish at 15thor 16th depending on the poll and opened betting as a 4.5 point favorite. Early action has pushed the line to 4 or 3.5 at most online betting sites with the over/under total listed at 54.5 almost universally.
Michigan has gotten the better of Notre Dame most recently with four wins in the last five meetings, including last years 41-30 win. That was the most lopsided of any contest going back to 2008 with all of the other wins coming by a margin of seven or less. Michigan is also 4-1 against the spread during that stretch but will have to buck the trend that has seen the home team go 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. The underdog is riding an 11-4 ATS streak in the last fifteen.
Michigan started off the season by exorcising the demons associated with the 2007 loss to Appalachian State. Devin Gardner threw for three touchdowns against App. State and the Wolverines cruised to a 52-14 win. Devin Funchess hauled in all three of Gardners touchdown throws with Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith both going over 100 yards rushing and each found the endzone at least once. Playing FCS opponents rarely give much insight but it was a positive to see Michigan come out so fast in what had to be somewhat of a nerve-wracking week as Im sure they heard plenty about the 2007 debacle.
Notre Dame is off to an equally fast start after a 48-17 win against Rice. Everett Golson tore through the Owl defense, throwing for 295 yards and two scores, adding three rushing touchdowns in his return from the academic suspension that saw him miss the entire 2013 season. Golson is now a 21-year old redshirt junior and looked in control of the offense throughout. In this instant gratification era, it is easy to forget that Golson led the Irish to the National Championship game as a redshirt freshman in 2012.
Both teams enter the week at near full strength with Michigan listing DB Jabrill Peppers as probable and OL Graham Glasgow as eligible coming off suspension. Notre Dame has LB Jarrett Grace listed as questionable with a knee.
Michigan has played Notre Dame more than a lot of Big Ten opponents over the last decade or so, making for plenty of familiarity here. Both schools see themselves as gate-keepers of College Football history and both have high hopes for the season, so there is a lot of hype and animosity heading into Saturday. The quarterbacks will be the keys for each offense and can burn the defenses with their legs or extend a play to heave it down field. Gardner is the better pure runner so Notre Dame needs to be on point at the linebacker level to keep him bottled up when he leaves the pocket. Each squad has good offensive lines and capable running back crews so look for a lot of smashmouth on the early downs to set up play-action. Four points seems like a lot for Notre Dame to give in what is sure to be a close battle. Michigan is a trendy moneyline pick but even with an Irish win straight up, I feel good about the Wolverines and the points. Gardner and crew will move the ball and there should be enough production to stay with Notre Dame at its best. This will be a fitting sendoff for the recent rivalry with the Irish winning in a bit of shootout by a 34-31 score, but it is Michigan staying perfect against the spread.
Evergreen’sPick to Cover the Point Spread: My bet is on the Michigan Wolverines at +4.