The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are still playing for a chance at the college football playoff and the Michigan Wolverines are playing for a 3rd place finish in the Big Ten East Division.
This could be the last game in this series for a very, very long time, so there is a lot riding on this game.
Notre Dame 34, Michigan 20
Notre Dame hasn’t won in Michigan Stadium since 2005, but that changes on Saturday night. Michigan’s much maligned offense (which got some praise for it’s second half comeback against Penn State) won’t have an answer for a stout Irish defense. Rain is in the forecast which shouldn’t help Michigan (who ranks near the bottom in fumbles lost) and should help ND (who ranks top 10 in fumbles forced).
On the flip side, Michigan’s defense thrives when getting hits on the QB. Notre Dame’s oline has done a great job of getting Ian Book clean. The Irish will welcome back a fully healthy Jafar Armstrong, so I like the Irish run game to be even more dangerous. Give me the Irish...and in the wise words of Pat Rick...it don’t even need to be close.
Indiana Hoosiers 37, Nebraska Cornhuskers 28
Now much of this prediction rides on the status of Michael Penix Jr. If he plays...the Hoosiers are winning this game and become bowl eligible. If Peyton Ramsey starts I become a little bit more unsure about this pick. But this is a huge game for Indiana. It is right in the middle of a very winnable three game stretch, but even with the current state of the Nebraska program Lincoln is still a tough place to play in. A win this week and win next week in primetime at home, and #9WINDIANA is happening.
Notre Dame 24, Michigan 14
This game seems like it is going to be closer than it should be, which is frustrating. Some of the things with this game have been wonky. The bettiing line went from UM -4 to ND -1.5. Also, the weather forecast shows a ton of rain Saturday night in Ann Arbor. I don’t want that to seem like an excuse, but get ready for a weird game. It will be annoying as hell, and I shouldn’t be as nervous as I am. I get so worked up over this game because what those fans have done to me over the years. No matter, it will be close, and I predict only 1 made FG (by the newfound king, Jonathan Doerer) because of the weather. Our defense is good, and the offense will be able to take care of enough business to get some scores. The Irish still get the W, and I hope I get to see the aftermath of UM fans reeling about what to do with Jimmy Khakis.
Central Michigan Chippewas 30, Buffalo Bulls 21
Since losing to Western Michigan, the Chips fired up three straight wins. Now, they go on the road to play a Buffalo team that is 3-4. I’m liking the direction that the team is heading, so I’m predicting a relatively convincing road win. They can secure a postseason bid with a win on Saturday, and I think that motivation will carry over to the field.
Notre Dame 27, Michigan 16
Notre Dame runs the damn ball effectively all game, controls the clock, but never pulls away. Then no one pays attention anymore because Michigan now has three losses.
Miami-Ohio Redhawks 24, Kent State Golden Flashes 10
I don’t think Kent State is very good. In a battle of 3-4 teams, I think the RedHawks will be the less not very good team and come away with a win.
Notre Dame 31, Michigan 17
Without costly turnovers I think this game is within a touchdown. Michigan coughs up the ball and ND capitalizes with a +2 turnover margin. Look for the D-line to get to Patterson, especially in sloppy conditions.
Holy Cross 30, Colgate 17
Go Saders. After having 3 turnovers in the first half on their own side of the 50, the crusaders were still in the game against Harvard last week. HC bursts into a stretch of Patriot League games as the offense flourishes.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 28, Michigan Wolverines 21
I’d be lying if I said a night game in Ann Arbor didn’t worry me a bit, but besides the home crowd, everything else seems to favor Notre Dame. I think this game may come down to limiting mistakes and forcing turnovers. The Irish have been good at both this season and they can take advantage of that to come away with a close win.
Washington State Cougars 24, Oregon Ducks 35
Washington State finally got back in the win column last week, but they now travel to Oregon to take on a talented Ducks team with only one high quality loss on the season. The Pac 12 can get crazy sometimes, so an upset here wouldn’t surprise me, but ultimately I think the Cougars just don’t have enough playmakers, especially on defense, to hang with the Ducks.
Notre Dame 31, Michigan 16
Ian Book is able to operate out of a mostly clean pocket all night and is able to put together a couple of early scoring drives that puts the pressure on Michigan early. Unable to rely on a floundering running game, Shea Patterson is asked to make plays and cannot, as the Irish defensive line tees off. Fortunately for Michigan fans, the expected rain will help to disguise their tears, unfortunately for Michigan players, ball safety then becomes an issue in the weather and multiple turnovers leads to Shea getting benched. Dylan McCaffery comes in for relief and looks better but it’s too late as the Irish roll in Ann Arbor behind strong second half performs from Tony Jones Jr and a renewed Jafar Armstrong.
Vegas is Dumb Lock
Utah Utes 20, California Golden Bears 7
Cal hasn’t allowed more than 24 points in 14 straight games and they are a 21 point underdog traveling to Rice Eccles Stadium. If Cal kicks just 2 FGs, you’re asking Utah to score 27 just to hit the spread. Cal is too good defensively and Utah just doesn’t have the fire power to flirt with the 30’s in this game. Kyle Whittingham will be content to take the air of the ball in the second half and get ready for next weeks showdown with Washington.
Bonus Prediction - Kirk Herbstreit obnoxiously spends the entire fourth quarter talking about why Notre Dame won’t go to the playoff if they win out.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 27, Michigan Wolverines 17
Michigan has a good defense that will cause some issues for Ian Book and the boys, but I think Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet, Tony Jones Jr., Tommy Tremble, and hopefully Jafar Armstrong/Braden Lenzy (assuming they get some touches) will ultimately be too much for the Wolverines to contain -- and I can already see TJJ icing the game with some nice 12-yard runs late in the 4th quarter.
Michigan also has some weapons on offense that could get loose in a big game at home for some nice plays, but Clark Lea and his defensive unit have stifled better offenses than the Wolverines’, and I think overall UM will really struggle to come away from most drives with any points -- especially if Shaun Crawford is healthy enough to play significant time.
Notre Dame will win a hard-fought game in Ann Arbor for the first time since 2005 and bid a nice little adieu to Michigan and their Big House until whatever later year this series inevitably picks back up again.
Kansas Jayhawks 45, Texas Tech Red Raiders 31
OUR Kansas Jayhawks were absolutely robbed of a big upset last weekend against the Texas Longhorns. Such a shame, but there was plenty to like about Les Miles’ team’s performance in Austin (48 points!!!!!), and I expect the team to respond this weekend by really taking out their frustrations on Texas Tech. The Mad Hatter and his men will roll and get themselves right back on track for qualifying for the College Football Playoff, where we all still expect them to be come the end of the season. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWKS BAY-BEEEEEE.
Notre Dame 31, Michigan 17
Interestingly, professional oddsmakers opened Michigan a four point favorite over Notre Dame. In less than 48 hours that changed as now Michigan is currently only a one point favorite. This writer feels that Notre Dame will, by game time, be a slight favorite. Notre Dame continues to move forward positively, while Michigan continues to try to salvage a already disappointing season. Coach Harbaugh continues to be more of a story than his team, as he sputters toward a very unacceptable season, and the Wolverines face some tough games after this one, namely Ohio St. and Michigan St. This is another must win for the Irish if they are to have any chance at the playoffs. There is no doubt Notre Dame will be sky high for this game, and being on the road should be no factor. I look for Notre Dame to establish a lead in this game and control the tempo throughout. Only mistakes and sloppy play can beat the Irish here. That is unlikely, and Michigan will continue to sputter under Harbaugh. Prediction: Notre Dame 31 Michigan 17
Alabama Crimson Tide 41, Arkansas Razorbacks 10
Not much to say here. With Alabama losing its star QB, Tua, that will not mean anything as far as enhancing Arkansas’ chances of winning this game. Alabama has four outstanding receivers, and any QB they use is certainly capable of completing enough passes to win comfortably here. Alabama’s running game is above average and certainly potent enough to keep Arkansas behind throughout. Arkansas is a year or two away from competing against this national powerhouse.
Notre Dame 27 Michigan 26
I am still scarred from 2009 and 2011. I give the edge to Notre Dame but ever so slightly. Notre Dame’s offense is 4th in the country with an 86.4% touchdown percentage in the red zone. Michigan’s defense is 118th in the country in red zone touchdowns allowed at 75%. Brian Kelly gets his first W in Ann Arbor, in what seems like it could be the last game between these two programs for awhile.
Iowa Hawkeyes 21, Northwestern Wildcats 3
Fitz has owned Kirk the past few years. I just can’t see Northwestern scoring enough points to beat the Hawks. Toughest place in America to play is Evanston at 11am but that still won’t be enough. Side note: how has Phil Parker not gotten any looks to be a head coach? He has to be one of the more underrated defensive coordinators in the country.
Notre Dame 35, Michigan 24
As much as I would love for this to be something of a beatdown, I have a feeling that Michigan will hang around for a while. They put a good fight on the road against Penn State last week, overall. Notre Dame is simply a stronger team and should be able to pull off another victory, however.
Oregon State Beavers: Bye Week
Oregon State get to rest this week following a surprising victory over Cal. Despite the remaining issues with this team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, Jonathan Smith might just have this program headed in the right direction.
Notre Dame 27, Michigan 17
I wrote this prediction down earlier this week and when I published the Anti-Preview on Thursday, I stayed the course. With weather reports claiming some bad weather, maybe we knock off a TD each for a 20-10 win — but I still feel Notre Dame jumps on Michigan and then fights them the rest of the way. Notre Dame gets Shaun Crawford and Jafar Armstrong back this week (for real this time) and both players provide an incredible amount of flexibility and dynamic options. In the end though, Notre Dame wins the turnover battle and plays better defense. End of story and end of series (for now).
Eastern Michigan Eagles 30, Toledo Rockets 27
EMU got a MUCH needed win over Western Michigan last week and they did it with backup quarterback Preston Hutchinson. Mike Glass III may not be able to return this week, but Hutchinson’s 31-36 346 yards and 3 TD performance can not go unnoticed. Toledo’s loss to Bowling Green can’t go unnoticed either. EMU struggles on the road, but it’s such a short trip to Toledo, maybe it doesn’t matter as much. FLY EAGLES FLY!