(5-7, 6-5-1 ATS in 2009)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(6-6, 4-8 ATS in 2009)
Brian Kelly’s time on the sidelines in South Bend begins on Saturday afternoon, as his Notre Dame Fighting Irish play host to the Purdue Boilermakers in one of the premier nationally televised college football betting clashes of the weekend.
Purdue might have lost one of its best passers ever in the form of QB Joey Elliott from last year’s team, but University of Miami transfer QB Robert Marve is set to take over, and he might bring a huge spark to the team. Marve was competing with Jacory Harris for the Hurricanes, and he nearly pulled off the upset in the quarterback battle. However, when Harris won the job two years ago, Marve left the university and headed to Purdue. He sat out the mandatory one year for transferring, but is ready to take the Boilermakers into South Bend on Saturday. WR Keith Smith is going to be the man to keep a very close eye on this Saturday if the Boilers are pulling the upset. Smith had a whopping 91 catches in this pass happy offense for 1,100 yards and six TDs. The problem is going to be the rushing game, which has already lost RB Ralph Bolden for the season. Bolden rushed for 935 yards and had the third most receiving yards on the squad last year, accounting for 11 total touchdowns. The offense is still there for Purdue, though. The question is whether its 89th ranked scoring defense from a year ago can put a stop to the Notre Dame offense.
HC Charlie Weis, QB Jimmy Clausen, and WR Golden Tate are all gone, but there is still a lot of hope for the Notre Dame offense this year. QB Dayne Crist only completed 10-of-20 passes last season, but he has had high hopes to take over for Clausen since the day he stepped on the campus in South Bend. WR Michael Floyd caught 44 passes for a whopping 795 yards last year, an average of 18.1 yards per catch. He also accounted for nine of the team’s 30 receiving TDs on the season. TE Kyle Rudolph might be one of the best in the nation as well even though he is coming off of a relatively poor year with 33 catches, 364 yards, and three TDs. Look for RBs Armando Allen and Robert Hughes to try to slow down Purdue’s offense by controlling the football. They combined for 1,113 yards and eight TDs last year on the ground. Again, defense is a major question mark. Allowing 397.8 yards and 25.9 points per game is just unacceptable, especially if the Irish have their eyes set on a BCS game this year.
The oddsmakers haven’t done enough to pad the ‘total’ in this game. We tend t obelieve that the Boilermakers have a real chance at pulling the shocking upset, but we are more comfortable believing in them to score at least 28 points instead. If that’s the case, Notre Dame will have no choice but to keep up, and the end result in this college football betting battle will be a high scorer that easily eclipses the ‘total’.
Selection: Purdue/Notre Dame Over 54.5