Notre Dame came into the season with kind of split perspectives. On the one hand, many in the public believed that they'd be competing for a playoff spot and a potential National Title. On the other hand, oddsmakers and most national pundits believed Notre Dame was set to take a step back this year.
So far, Notre Dame has stayed undefeated, but in the least impressive way possible. 1 score wins over Florida State and Toledo followed by wins against Purdue and Wisconsin. Now they face their toughest test of the season, #7 Cincinnati. The public doesn't believe in Notre Dame.
Notre Dame comes into the game as a home underdog. They're 2 point underdogs, and they're given +110 odds to win the game outright. That's an implied 47.6% chance to pull off the upset. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is given -120 odds, or an implied 54.5% to win the game.
Notre Dame was an even bigger underdog against Wisconsin last week, and they managed to pull that one off. This should be a close hard-fought game though.
Notre Dame and Cincinnati have played each other just once in their history. That game took place on October 20th, 1900. That's right it's been 121 years since they've played each other.
Still, Notre Dame did win that one game 58-0. Neither team performed particularly well that year. Notre Dame finished 6-3-1 and Cincy finished 3-5-1.
This is Notre Dame's chance to solidify themselves as a true playoff contender. Back to back wins over Wisconsin and Cincy would show the rest of college football that Notre Dame is here to stay. Doesn't matter what Weeks 1and 2 looked like. It'd show how good they truly are. Yet, a loss would likely eliminate them from contention all together.
This is a game that could simply make or break Notre Dame's season. Lucky for them, they get to play it in South Bend.