Notre Dame travels to Columbus on Saturday for a prime-time showdown in the Horseshoe to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. We’ve all seen the spread and have all heard the predictions come in over the last few weeks — so we know what the Irish are up against.
Now it’s time for the OFD Staff to unleash their own picks. Here are a few thoughts from The Emperor’s Elite Pick-Em Force:
My brain tells me to pick OSU. Frankly, it also tells me to pick them to cover the inflated spread. But hope springs eternal. Notre Dame is 4-0 in games I wear my Bongiovi jersey for. The jersey will be in Columbus. Let’s have a weekend. 41-38 Irish.
“Marcus Freeman is going to have a VERY successful tenure as the head coach of Notre Dame, but his first win won’t come this weekend. Going into Ohio State is just too tall of a task right now for a first year head coach and a first year starting quarterback. The Irish cover though and keep their CFP hopes alive.”
As much as I would love to troll everyone and predict something like “Houston Griffith pick-6 FTW,” I’ll hedge my bets and be realistic. It’s no shame if this Notre Dame team loses with (at most) six healthy scholarship receivers and a less-than-100% Jarrett Patterson (if he even plays). But I certainly believe they’re undaunted by Ohio State and will muck this game up enough to cover. FINAL SCORE: OSU 38, ND 24
The Irish go out and are not a punching bag. They punch back - hard. The offense has plenty of strength with the OLine blocking for the RBs as well as Mayer on some slip screens. TB12 can help with running too. The defense is stout and can dominate too, causing problems for the admittedly excellent OSU offense. It’s going to be closer than many people think, and the Irish overtake the Buckeyes by one possession, 31-28 Final.
I’m extremely optimistic about Notre Dame’s future under Marcus Freeman and hope I have to eat my words come Sunday morning, but I just don’t see Notre Dame having the horses yet to keep up with C.J. Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, TreVeyon Henderson, and all the other blue-chip talent the Buckeyes will trot out there, proven or not. I think Tyler Buchner will play fine but not exceptionally (with one or two costly mistakes), the Irish defense will make some nice stops but also spend too much time on the field and give up some big plays, and OSU will cover (barely, but still) by ~20-23 points — maybe with a late touchdown in an otherwise fairly competitive (but not super competitive) game. To me, this is an Irish team that will get a ton better as the year goes on, but seeing this opponent this early, and on the road, will just ultimately be too much to overcome.
There could be more explainers coming in over the next couple of days.
As a whole, we continue to use TallySight to keep track of everything. Besides the ND VS OSU game, I asked the staff to pick:
West Virginia Mountaineers VS Pittsburgh Panthers
TCU Horned Frogs VS Colorado Buffaloes
Florida Gators VS Utah Utes
Oregon Ducks VS Georgia Bulldogs
Cincinnati Bearcats VS Arkansas Razorbacks
Florida State Seminoles VS LSU Tigers
Penn State Nittany Lions VS Purdue Boilermakers
You can drop your picks in the comments below.