Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (7-1 SU, 4-4 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date and Time: Saturday, November 8, 3:30pm EST
Where: Sun Devil Stadium – Tempe, Arizona
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ND +2.5/ASU -2.5
Over/Under Total: 59.5
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Saturday at 3:30pm, we will see what in my opinion will be the best game of the day. The 7-1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the Arizona State Sun Devils, who are also sitting at 7-1 on the 2014 season. The Irish are ranked 10th in the nation, while the Devils sit at 9th in the AP Poll. This game is an elimination game from the college football playoffs. The winner will remain alive and in the hunt, while the loser can go ahead and make other plans this January.
It may come as some surprise in this game that Notre Dame is the underdog. As of right now, Arizona State is favored by 2.5 points at home over the Irish, while the total points are set at 59.5. Notre Dame enters this game with a 5-3 record against the spread, while Arizona State is 4-4. Both teams have done okay in this area, which is another factor into which side we get on here. Presently, 61% of the action in Vegas is on the favorited Sun Devils. A large part of this is because not only did Notre Dame lose to Florida State just two weeks ago, but that was followed up with a lackluster performance against Navy. Yes, the Irish beat the Midshipmen, but it was close…real close.
If Notre Dame has any aspirations of crashing the college football final four, and getting a second shot at the Florida State Seminoles, there is no room for error. Every game from here on out is a must win for the Irish. Led by Everett Golson, the Notre Dame passing offense is ranked 27th in the nation at 288 yards per game. Not only does Golson run the offense, and the passing attack, but he is also the Irish’s 2nd leading rusher. This kid is the heart and soul of this team. He has only lost one regular season game as a starting quarterback, and until the FSU loss, he had only lost one game as a starter period (the 2012 BCS title game versus Alabama). For many weeks, the public and media considered Notre Dame a legit national title contender, but the love has died down a little. The Florida State loss, and the follow up against Navy has made some people lose faith in this team. In order to go into Sun Devil Stadium and pull this “upset,” the Irish will need to play defense. Arizona State loves to throw the ball around, and if Notre Dame lets them, it could be the end of the Irish’s playoff and national title dreams.
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The Sun Devils, just like the Fighting Irish, come into the game at 7-1 overall and ranked in the nation’s top ten. So many times before we saw this Sun Devils program get their hopes up for a great season, only to be let down. This team just seems a bit different so far. With the exception of their loss to UCLA, the Sun Devils have looked really good. Whether its Taylor Kelly or freshman, Mike Bercovicci taking the snaps on offense, these guys can sling the ball. Arizona State is averaging almost 300 yards per game passing, and the rushing offense is putting up nearly 200 per game as well. These guys are good, and when they get rolling on offense, they are nearly unstoppable. On the defensive side of the ball, the Sun Devils rank 50th in the FBS with just 24 points per game allowed. The key to this game for the Sun Devils is to get the offense off to a fast start. Notre Dame has not played their best football the last few weeks, and if ASU can jump on them early, they just might be able to put them away for good. However, if the Sun Devils allow Notre Dame to stick around, Everett Golson will find a way to pull out the win late… ask Stanford.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:This is a tough game. I could see this contest going either way. If ASU won this game 44-20 I would not be shocked. If Notre Dame comes in and wins this game by a 30-22 score…not surprised. These games are always tough to pick. Two highly ranked teams in what can pretty much be called a playoff/play in game. The winner not only lives, but probably jumps a few spots in the rankings while the loser can only hope for a decent bowl bid. As much as I want Arizona State to win this game, I just do not think they will. I have this feeling that Notre Dame comes in and takes a lot of frustration out on the Sun Devils. I see a 28-20 type win for the Irish. PICK THE NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH +2.5