Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(7-5, 5-5-2 ATS)
(7-5, 5-7 ATS)
One of the oldest bowl games in college football, the Sun Bowl is already a game that is full of tradition and history. It doesn’t get any bigger than this in terms of games that are rich in history. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Miami Hurricanes might be down this year, but these teams are both amongst the best in the history of college football betting action, as there are a ton of National Championships between them.
The Fighting Irish had to wonder whether they really had what it took to make it to a bowl game this year when they were 4-5 and needed wins in two of their final three games just to qualify for the postseason. QB Dayne Crist was knocked out for the season as well, which only left QB Tommy Rees to lead the way against the Utah Utes, Army Black Knights, and USC Trojans. Rees played well, throwing for 905 yards with ten TDs, numbers that were made to look all the better considering the fact that he didn’t have most of his top receiving targets either. Only WR Michael Floyd really had a strong year for this team, catching 73 passes for 916 yards and ten scores. On the ground, RB Armando Allen was knocked out for the season after rushing for 514 yards, which leaves RB Cierre Wood, who had 522 yards and two scores. There were only ten rushing TDs all year long for the Golden Domers, and six of those scores came from Crist and Allen, both of which are going to be inactive in the Sun Bowl. The defense for Notre Dame really stepped up at the end of the year, allowing just 22 points in those final three games of the season.
The Hurricanes had such a disappointing season this year that they fired Head Coach Randy Shannon before this bowl game. New Head Coach Al Golden will be watching this one intently as he gets set to take over next year. The defense for “The U” showed some strides this year, allowing just 313.7 yards and 19.7 points per game. This team was ranked No. 2 in the land at 146.3 yards per game and could be in store for another great day. The offense wasn’t as strong as it could have been, but a ton of injuries, most notably to QB Jacory Harris really didn’t help matters on the year. Harris will likely be back in the saddle on New Year’s Eve after a season in which he threw for just 1,756 yards and 14 TDs. WR Leonard Hankerson has been battling the flu and might not be ready to play in his final game as a Cane before heading to the NFL. He had a great year this season with 66 catches, 1,085 yards, and a dozen TDs and will most certainly be missed if he can’t suit up on Friday. Keep an eye on WR Travis Benjamin as well, as his 17.5 yards per reception average was tops on the team.
For as hot as the Golden Domers were down the stretch, we tend to believe that they have the right stuff to be able to win this game. Both the Utes and Trojans are better than the Canes are, and Notre Dame should have the luck of the Irish on its side. The team beating the Sun Bowl betting lines will be the Fighting Irish.
Sun Bowl Free Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish +3