Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(4-3, 2-3-2 ATS)
(4-2, 3-3 ATS)
The New Meadowlands Stadium will welcome the Golden Domers for the first time, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take a neutral field in a college football betting clash with their rivals, the Navy Midshipmen.
Notre Dame looked to be in a heck of a lot of trouble a few weeks ago at this time. The Irish had lost three straight games, including just having gotten thumped at home by the Stanford Cardinal, and they were about to lose TE Kyle Rudolph, one of the team’s best receiving options, for the rest of the season. However, a 31-13 win over the Boston College Eagles really sparked a good run of fortunate for the Golden Domers, as they have now won three straight and are 1-0-2 ATS in that stretch. Give QB Dayne Crist and the offense a ton of credit. This unit has now outgained its foes by an average of over 45 yards per game in the L/3 after getting outgained in its first four games of the season. There are some added problems this week to deal with, though. The Irish are going to be without WR Theo Riddick, the team’s second leading receiver, as he is coping with an ankle injury, while a hamstring problem might also keep WR Michael Floyd on the sidelines. If that all happens for Notre Dame, the top three targets for Crist are all going to be out of the lineup, and the Irish are going to have a ridiculously tough time getting anywhere near their average of 286.6 passing yards per game.
We aren’t quite so sure how the Middies have figured out how to win four of their six games this year, but that’s where they stand coming into this week’s tussle against the Irish. The Naval Academy has kept opposing teams off balance by both running the football well to milk the clock and playing excellent defense. No team in the nation has scored more than 27 against this team this year, and three of the six foes have been held under the 20s. Navy is only allowing 160.2 passing yards per game, numbers which will be tested this week. A lot of that is thanks to a schedule which has featured three nearly pure rushing teams and an FCS foe. On the other side of the ball, QB Ricky Dobbs is still one of the most feared men in college football, as you never know what he’s doing with the pigskin when he gets it. Dobbs has thrown for 573 yards this season and rushed for 379 more, making him one of the five rushers on this team that is averaging more than 25 yards per game on the ground. RB/WR Gee Gee Greene is a real threat both in the rushing game and the passing game. He has 274 yards on the ground on 37 carries and 14 catches for 205 yards through the air. Greene and WR Greg Jones are making up a formidable due to contend with, though they aren’t used all that much in the passing game.
This is a tough call. Notre Dame is in a lot of trouble if Floyd, Riddick, and Rudolph are all out of the lineup. However, something still just doesn’t seem all that right with the Middies. We’ll back the Irish for now, but if Floyd is ruled out on Saturday afternoon, don’t be afraid to flip flop and head over to Navy.
NCAA Football Free Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -6.5