You can feel the tension in the air (if the Internet had an atmosphere). The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are undefeated and primed for the playoffs, but will they remain that way after they play the Northwestern Wildcats this weekend?
We have those picks and many more for the college football world.
Notre Dame 38, Northwestern 27
This game does scare me, but every game that has scared me this year has turned out just fine. We dominated both VT and Navy on the road, and silenced the noise. I think Ian Book is still on point, and Dexter runs for a couple more TDs. A good mix of offense occurs again, and the defense bends a bit but shows its tenacity. The Irish will be too much for the Wildcats, and the Irish win by two possessions.
Eastern Michigan Eagles 27, Central Michigan Chippewas 17
The Chips vs. the Hurons. The Chips are just not good this year. They will roll into Ypsilanti and take on a team that beat Purdue who beat Ohio State. It’s just a bleak outlook for the Chips, but the Eagles end up winning pretty comfortably. That will make Josh and Lino very happy.
Notre Dame 38, Northwestern 23
This will be a one score game until the Irish score a touchdown late to put the game away. I think the difference will be the Notre Dame defense holding Northwestern to field goals in the red zone.
Notre Dame 31, Northwestern 20
This game feels like the classic 12 over 5 game that everybody picks as the cool upset in their March Madness bracket, only for the 5 seed to win in a game that isn’t even all that close. I see this game following a similar pattern to Stanford and Virginia Tech, close into the third quarter before Notre Dame starts to pull away, although it’ll probably feel a lot closer to Irish fans than the score says.
Louisiana Ragin Cajuns 30, Troy Trojans 38
ULL is coming off a win last week, but travels to Troy for a rough road match against a good team. I expect a close one up until the end, but ultimately Troy is too much to overcome on the road and a late score seals the win for Troy.
Notre Dame 31, Northwestern 17
I know teamrankings.com has this as Notre Dame’s lowest probability win left on the schedule, and I know Northwestern has beaten the Irish before, and I know I shouldn’t trust a Brian Kelly team not to collapse in November, but I believe Clark Lea’s defense is just too good for any of those things to matter.
Cincinnati Bearcats 37, Navy Midshipmen 14
Navy will continue to take on water this season as the losses pile up and the bulkheads collapse. I think their only possible win left is Tulsa at the end of the year to cap what looks like a 3-10 season. Yikes.
Notre Dame 30, Northwestern 13
The Irish may be feeling the pressure to win more than the Wildcats -- after all, this impacts nothing in their quest for the Big Ten West title -- but it still doesn’t change the calculus that Clayton Thorson hasn’t looked particularly good in his last two starts. If Julian Love can keep Flynn Nagel under wraps, that’ll put a lot of pressure on Isaiah Bower. This game will probably be closer than my final score without Drue Tranquill commanding the defense, but I have zero faith that the Wildcats can pull the upset.
Clemson Tigers 49, Louisville Cardinals 10
I’ve got a feeling that Brian VanGorder won’t be coaching the Cardinals’ defense when they play the Irish to open the 2019 season.
Notre Dame 38, Northwestern 17
I think Notre Dame’s offense shines under the lights yet again. Look for our D-line to get pressure early and often, and the offense to be led by a balanced attack. I still don’t see us getting many deep balls (sad), but expanding the intermediate and running back passing game with Jafar leading the way.
Holy Cross 35, Lafayette 21
HC comes off a MONSTER defeat beating Lehigh by a half century last weekend. They keep the momentum going and win 2 in a row...which officially puts them on a winning streak. Bob Chesney is starting to build something at HC.
Notre Dame 40, Northwestern 23
The Irish defense, with or without a hobbled Drue Tranquill, forces multiple turnovers from Clayton Thorson and bottles up Isaiah Bowser on the ground. Ian Book and the offense struggle in the early going to get into a great rhythm, but ultimately Dexter Williams breaks things open and the offense steps on Northwestern’s throat in the second half.
Florida Atlantic Owls 27 Florida International Golden Panthers 21
My Owls have fought hard and come up short in recent weeks. They will finally break through and get a HUGE win over the #1 team in Conference USA this week. Mark my words. OWLS!!!!!!!!
Notre Dame 34, Northwestern 24
Northwestern is riding high after the Wisconsin win and Pat Fitzgerald is a known Notre Dame hater. But the Irish are rolling, and the aking heads are right they won’t lose.
West Virginia Mountaineers 31, Texas Longhorns 30
Texas lost some mojo last week and unfortunately it turns into a double whammy, beginning their tailspin.
Notre Dame 42, Northwestern 7
After the playoff committee placed LSU in the number three spot, above Notre Dame, the Irish are going to come out on Saturday a team possessed; poised to show everyone why they deserve to be headed to the college football playoffs. Be ready to see Notre Dame in prime form. Offense, defense and special teams will be working together in perfect harmony on Saturday. Northwestern has no idea what is headed their way. GO IRISH!
Notre Dame 24, Northwestern 20
This will be a fun game to watch, with two of the more exciting quarterbacks in college football. Northwestern gave the Michigan Wolverines a scare earlier this season at Ryan Field and haven’t lost since. They looked excellent against the Wisconsin Badgers last week, but I think Notre Dame’s extra week to prepare will give them the advantage, and the undefeated season continues going into Senior Day.
Eastern Michigan Eagles 16, Central Michigan Chippewas 10
Despite falling to the Army Black Knights, we got to see the Eagles run the Philly Special last week. This week, they welcome in-state rival Central Michigan, whose lone victory this year came against the Maine Black Bears. While the Eagles defense hasn’t looked stellar outside of the win against the Purdue Boilermakers, I don’t see them giving up many points to a Chippewas team that’s only averaging 16 points per game. I’m predicting EMU to even their record at 5-5 this week.
Notre Dame 44, Northwestern 17
I believe in Brian Kelly. He’s won a big night game this year, and managed to beat spooky Pitt after a stretch of good wins and a top-4 ranking. Just like 2012. Irish big over Northwestern.
Ohio University Bobcats 38, Miami-Ohio Redhawks 31
Miami does the exact opposite of what I pick. For that reason, I have picked them to lose the Battle of the Bricks.
Notre Dame 34, Northwestern 17
Notre Dame travels to Northwestern just a week following a trip to San Diego to face Navy. A lot of travelling and a potential post-Navy letdown make this game a bit scarier than it would be on face value. Despite what’s working against the Irish, I expect them to come out on top in this one. There might be a bit of a slow and sloppy start, but the Irish should comfortably pull away once it’s all said and done.
Washington Huskies 28, Stanford Cardinal 24
This is a close matchup. Stanford hasn’t looked great this year, but did beat a decent Oregon team, while losing to Utah. Washington has beaten Utah and lost to Oregon. While the transitive property isn’t always applicable to college football, it does show just how closely matched these two programs are. I’ll give the edge to the Huskies here due to their homefield advantage, but this game looks like a coin flip.
You can find my detailed Notre Dame pick in the Anti-Preview (Spoiler: Irish 34, Wildcats 16)
Alabama Crimson Tide 38, LSU Tigers 17
This the game of the week, and it gets out of hand pretty quickly. Bama is just rolling right now on offense, and the Tiger offense isn’t exactly the most efficient. The cream has already risen to the top, and this game sends a message to the rest of the country that everyone is playing for 2nd place.
Penn State Nittany Lions 24, Michigan Wolverines 17
Jim Harbaugh isn’t out of the woods yet. He LOST to Notre Dame in September, and a win over a mediocre Sparty doesn’t change his career line at Michigan. Call me CRAZY, but I think Penn State comes out with nothing to lose (as the #14 ranked team) and this game pretty much mirrors Michigans LOSS to the Irish.
I’m not petty. I’m AWESOMELY petty.