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Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS Vanderbilt Commodores: Staff Picks

Life goes on my son.

Kurt Hinish Notre Dame
Kurt Hinish
Mike Miller/One Foot Down

Here we go y’all! Two weeks in and we are still sitting in the middle of nowhere. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 2-0 and as far as most people are concerned, it feels like 1-1 after that poor performance against Ball State.

So, two games into the season, we are all still a bit confused as to what this team is actually capable of doing this year. Perhaps Saturday’s game against the Vanderbilt Commodores will clear things up.

Perhaps not.

Alright, alright... enough of the bullshit. Let’s get to WEEK 2!

This season, instead of everyone picking five or six games with little to no explanation, the staff will pick the Notre Dame game AND one other team they have each chosen to follow this season, and will give predictions for that game as well.

I highly encourage you (our loyal readers) to do the same. In the comments below, give your prediction for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish AND take another team to follow and predict. Maybe you watch the Auburn Tigers on the side, or the Nebraska Cornhuskers or the Ohio Bobcats — whoever. Join in and expand your love of Notre Dame Football into college football as a whole.

Here we go...

Austin Gallagher

Notre Dame 27 Vanderbilt 10

I’m betting on the Irish using last week’s putrid performance as motivation against the Commodores. The defense will hold stout - as usual - against a less talented team. On the other hand, the offense won’t light the world on fire, but they’ll do enough to get it done in a comfortable fashion.

Washington Huskies 31 Utah Utes 20

Utah is always tricky to bet against, but I’m going with the talent on this one. The Huskies still have a chip on their shoulder after the loss at Auburn, and they’ll play with something to prove. It won’t be an easy win, but they’ll prove to be just too much for the Utes.

Jeff Czerniakowski

Notre Dame 34 Vanderbilt 17

The Ball State game should scare the Irish back into place. Vanderbilt is a bottom tier SEC team. This isn’t like when the Georgia Bulldogs strolled into town. A focused ND team easily gets the victory.

Toledo Rockets 31 Miami-Florida Hurricanes 23

This game has upset written all over it. It will be Toledo’s Superbowl. The rockets are coming off a bye week. The game kicks off at noon. I think Miami will sleep walk into Toledo and get upset by my hometown rockets.

Philip Gough

Notre Dame 31 Vanderbilt 17

The Irish bounce back this week and have a solid afternoon. Nothing about this game screams domination, but they take care of business.

Holy Cross Crusaders 21 Yale Bulldogs 28

The Bull Dogs take down the Crusaders as they slip to 0-3. The schedule gets easier from here and they will bounce back and start the bulk of their schedule off on the right foot next week.

Wes Sweigert

Notre Dame 34 Vanderbilt 21

Vandy is averaging 38 points against a couple of turds on their schedule. Notre Dame is averaging 24 points per game against two other turds, one of whom has a respectable defense. What does this all mean besides a courtesy flush is severely needed? I tell you what it means... it means Vandy will be held to about 55% of their average for a total of 21 and Notre Dame will score about 40% more. Yet another win that is just a wee bit too close for the discerning fan, but the Irish will improve to 3-0.

Navy Midshipmen 47 Lehigh Mountain Hawks 17

The Lehigh Mountain Hawks are an FCS school from Bethlehem Pennsylvania, a mere 180 miles (as the Hawk flies) away from the Naval Academy. Though Navy and Lehigh are pseudo-Patriot League rivals in non-football sports (think ND in the ACC), this will be Lehigh’s first FBS opponent in 15 years. After watching Malcolm Perry run for 200+ yards in this game, they might wait another 15 years.

Jude Seymour

Notre Dame 27 Vanderbilt 23

I continue to remain very concerned about the offensive line’s ability to communicate well and keep the pocket clean for Brandon Wimbush. I also remain concern that there isn’t much of a running game at present, and that Wimbush seemed reluctant the last game to use his feet and take what the defense was giving him. I toyed with the idea of taking the Commodores -- I picked the Michigan Wolverines during week 1 -- but I truly think Notre Dame’s defense will keep the Irish competitive and help them prevail.

Fresno State Bulldogs 30, UCLA Bruins 21

The Chip Kelly experiment has gone awry. While the Bruins get Soso Jamabo back this week, one potentially dynamic won’t fix the offensive line woes or the carousel at quarterback. The Bulldogs are a legit team, and their defense has returned almost everyone with experience from last year. Will it be too soon to punch the panic button in Los Angeles after an 0-3 start? Stay tuned.

Pat Sullivan

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 33 Jay Cutler University Fighting Jay Cutlers 20

Gimme Jafar and TJJ with big days on the ground, and a couple timely turnovers that allow Wimbush to do his thing in the red zone. Jay Cutler U makes it closer than I want with some good running backs and with Kalija Lipscomb having some nice catches, but ultimately the Irish pull away in the 4th.

Florida Atlantic Owls 55 Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 9

This seems like the kind of opponent that Joey Freshwater mercilessly steamrolls. Owls win big and the backups get plenty of PT.

Brad Wechter

Notre Dame 14 Vanderbilt 13

I think this one looks a lot like the Ball State game. The Irish win, but won’t score in the 2nd half.

Minnesota Golden Gophers 41 Miami-Ohio Redhawks 7

It’s time for Chuck Martin to go in Oxford. He stocked the cupboard with talent, but his teams can’t turn the corner.

Billy Gorman

Notre Dame 31 Vanderbilt 20

Notre Dame received a wake up call last week against Ball State, but they were able to survive and improve to 2-0. Lucky for them last week seemed to be more their own fault than Ball State’s. Expect a return to form this week with a more normal game plan. It won’t be as easy as we may like but they have more than enough quality to survive an undefeated Vanderbilt team at home.

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 10 Mississippi State Bulldogs 42

The Ragin’ Cajuns roll into Starkville for a matchup with one of the better teams in the country as big underdogs (33 points as of writing) this week. An upset win would undoubtedly be one of the biggest in college football this year, so don’t expect that to happen. They’ll cover the spread, but just barely, and that can be considered a win for first year head coach Billy Napier.

Lisa Kelly

Notre Dame 24 Vanderbilt 10

I’ve been nervous every week leading up to game day, and this week isn’t any different. Vanderbilt may not be a world beater, but they still play in the SEC, and will be no easy task ... just like Ball State was no easy task. Our offense is going to have to look alive this week as Vandy’s defense loves to take away the ball; and our defense needs to come out swinging. Can we just hurry up to game day already?!

Arkansas Razorbacks 37 North Texas Mean Green 27

After a disappointing loss last weekend on the road against Colorado State, the Arkansas Razorbacks return home to face North Texas, and it’s family weekend. I’m more than sure Coach Morris has buckled down on the fundamentals this week and has stressed to them the importance of having a big win at home. North Texas’s offense is for real, they control their drives and win the time of possession battle. Arkansas’s defense is going to have to step up, and their offense is going to have to be more productive.

Matt Greene

Notre Dame 31 Vanderbilt 14

After last week, many questions arose from the play of the offense, especially Brandon Wimbush. I like to believe the mantra of getting back on track will happen this week. Although the offense won’t be stellar, they still produce more points and more convincingly. The defense, led by Julian Love in the secondary and also Khalid Kareem/ Jerry Tillery on the line, will continue to do its job and generally shut down Vandy’s offense.

Central Michigan Chippewas 37 Northern Illinois Huskies 33

The Chippewas got absolutely blown out at home by Kansas last week. An 0-2 start looks awful, but the two losses were to two Power 5 teams. The Chippewas have to go into Huskie Stadium as 14 point underdogs. As MACTION heats up with both teams beginning conference play in this MAC West battle, there will be little defense, but a close game. The Chips get the narrow W for their first win of the season.

Lino Garcia

Notre Dame 24 Vanderbilt 20

A team from the SEC comes to Notre Dame for the first time since the heartbreaking loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in 2017. Coming off two blowout victories against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and Nevada Wolfpack, the Commodores will be confident coming into Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday. Quarterback Kyle Shurmur has gotten off to a nice start this season for Vanderbilt, but he’ll be facing his first real test against the Irish defense. It’ll be closer than we’d like, but the Irish get the victory.

Eastern Michigan Eagles 35 Buffalo Bulls 10

I’m a believer in the Eagles after last week’s exciting, last second victory over the Purdue Boilermakers. The win makes Eastern Michigan 2-0 against the Big Ten dating back to last season. Former Iowa Hakeye Tyler Wiegers is proving to be an excellent replacement for Brogan Roback at quarterback, and Maxx Crosby is showing he’s one of the better defensive ends in the country. EMU kicks off its MAC schedule by blowing out the Bulls in Buffalo on Saturday.

Joe Londergan

Notre Dame 27 Vanderbilt 21

I get the concern with how Notre Dame played against Ball State, but I think that they’re moving along in the right direction. Notre Dame is the best defense/overall team that Vandy has faced yet and I think that will slow that commodore offense down significantly...hopefully, anyways.

Oregon State Beavers 31, Nevada Wolfpack 24

Jermar Jefferson and the running game look really good right now. I think that will match up well against Nevada’s 3-3-5 defense. The Wolfpack are a pretty decent team though and play very well at home typically, so this one could be entertaining.

Martin Sweigert

Notre Dame 27 Vanderbilt 17

There seems to be no indication other than Kelly’s coach-speak that Notre Dame will be able to noticeably improve it’s offense in one week’s time. Conversely, there is no good reason to believe the defense can’t hold another opponent to the same point total as the first two games. Michigan, Ball State, Vandy - they’re all the same!

USC Trojans 31 Texas Longhorns 30

You see, if I pick a big name has-been program that beats a dramatically inferior opponent by a one score margin for my staff pick “second” team, I can simply write the same prediction as Notre Dame! Genius! This game will be tight, but let’s not kid ourselves - it ain’t 2005. Texas is flirting with disaster two games in, and only a night game at home will keep them close to USC.

Joshua Vowles

Notre Dame 31 Vanderbilt 13

Call me crazy, but I believe Notre Dame gets back to business this week. Whatever mystical lasso was around Brandon Wimbush will be gone and Chip Long will let Brandon be Brandon. The defense will be “lively” and put a lot of pressure on the Vanderbilt offense. The Irish cover with a late field goal to seal the deal. Notre Dame has never played from behind this season, and that streak continues on Saturday.

Wyoming Cowboys 41 Wofford Terriers 23

After struggling for a few weeks against Power 5 teams, the Cowboys take out their frustrations on the Wofford Terriers during a Friday evening extravaganza.

Jessica Smetana

Notre Dame 24 Vanderbilt 10

I am scared to predict ND scoring more than 3 touchdowns but I do think that the defense can get it done again this weekend. After Ball State I don’t know what to believe anymore. If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t put money on ND to cover the spread (ever, but especially not this year.)

Clemson Tigers 35 Georgia Southern Eagles 10

This game already got moved up to noon because of Hurricane Florence and there will probably be some bad weather during the game. Clemson is currently the only school in South Carolina, North Carolina, or Virginia that is playing this weekend. I wouldn’t expect the score to get too high because of weather, but Clemsons going to steamroll Georgia State.