Pittsburgh Panthers (2-2 SU, 1-1-1 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS), Week 6 College Football, 3:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, October 9, 2010, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind. TV: NBC
by Ryno, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Pitt +6/ND -6
Over/Under Total: 49.5
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Pittsburgh and Notre Dame are two college football teams that have underperformed thus far this season. Both teams need to get a win desperately. Neither team can afford to lose when Pitt and Notre Dame face either Saturday afternoon in South Bend.
Pitt came into the season with high expectations and a top 25 national ranking. The Panthers have a star running back in Dion Lewis who was expected to possibly contend for a Heisman Trophy. But the Panthers started the season on a bad note with a 27-24 loss at Utah. After getting an easy win over FCS team New Hampshire, 38-16, the Panthers were blown out at home by Miami, 31-3.
Last week, the Panthers blew out Florida International, a team they were expected to blow out, 44-17. Pitt only led 13-10 at the half and 16-10 after the third quarter before blowing the game open in the final quarter. Lewis injured his shoulder and did not play in that game, and his status is unknown for this week’s game at Notre Dame. In the win over FIU, Ray Graham filled in at RB and had 29 carries for 277 yards and three touchdowns. With that performance, he is sure to still get a good amount of carries, even if Lewis is back from his injury. Pitt QB Tim Sunseri was 15-for-23 for 169 yards and a touchdown.
For the season, Graham is vastly outperforming Lewis. Graham has 52 carries for 492 yards and five touchdowns with a tremendous 9.5 yards-per-carry average. Lewis has 47 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns with a 3.0 yards-per-carry average. Sunseri has 689 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions with a 63 completion percentage.
Notre Dame started its season on a good note with a 23-12 home win over Purdue. But then things turned ugly. The Fighting Irish had a lead late in the game at home over Michigan but gave up a game-winning touchdown in the final minute to lose the game, 28-24. The next week, they lost in overtime at Michigan State, 34-31. It got real ugly the next week as the Irish lost their third consecutive game, this time in blowout fashion at home to Stanford, 37-14.
The Irish rebounded last week with a nice road victory at Boston College, 31-13. The Irish got off to a great start with a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and cruised from there for the victory. QB Dayne Crist was 24-for-44 passing for 203 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. RB Armando Allen had 19 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown. WR Theo Riddick had nine receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown, and Michael Floyd had four receptions for 69 yards.
The Irish did a great job against the run last week, holding Boston College to 34 yards rushing. If they can stop the run like that against Pitt, it will be an easy victory. The Panthers rely heavily on the running of Lewis and Graham. For the season, Notre Dame is allowing 152.8 rush yards per game, while Pitt is allowing 97 rush yards per game.
Notre Dame is 1-4 ATS in its last five games against the Big East, 1-10 ATS in its last 11 games as a favorite, and 0-6 ATS in its last six games following an ATS win. The under is 4-0 in Pitt’s last six games following a SU win. The under is 6-1 in Notre Dame’s last seven home games, 6-1 in its last seven games as a favorite, 5-1 in its last six games as a home favorite, 4-1 in its last five non-conference games, and 4-1 in its last five games overall.
Notre Dame is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games against Pitt. The underdog and the road team are both 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Notre Dame is horrible. Pittsburgh COULD win this game straight up so with that being said. I’m taking the Panthers and those juicy 6 points!