Utah Utes vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Pick, Trends, and Preview
(8-1, 6-2-1 ATS)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
(4-5, 2-5-2 ATS)
The Utes certainly took themselves out of the BCS National Championship picture last week with a 47-7 loss to the TCU Horned Frogs, but what HC Kyle Whittingham has to remember is that not all is lost. Since Utah is still right there on the verge of the Top 14, it is eligible to play in a BCS bowl game, and knowing that there are a number of different teams that are going to be taken out in the next few weeks, there is still a chance to get into one of the most illustrious bowl games in January. Utah still has a fantastic team in spite of the fact that it has failed to cover two straight after going 9-0-1 in its previous ten games. QB Jordan Wynn had a rough game last week, but he has still thrown for 1,579 yards and 14 TDs this season in spite of the fact that he missed a few games injured earlier in the year. If you throw out the last two weeks, Utah has played some of the most devastating defense in the country this year. Five teams have been held to 14 points or less, and in spite of the fact that TCU just rolled off a ton of yardage, the Utes are still keeping teams to just 300.0 yards per game.
Notre Dame is in a lot of trouble in this game, and HC Brian Kelly is going to be hearing all about it by this one is over. The Irish probably have to win this game in order to keep any hopes of going to a bowl game this year, and we all know that no one in South Bend wants to hear any excuses for a season that doesn’t end with a bowl game in spite of the fact that there are plenty of reasons for the hassles. Right now, the mass majority of the offensive weapons that the Golden Domers have are in braces, slings, and casts. QB Dayne Crist’s season came to a close two weeks ago against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, while two of his top targets, WR Theo Riddick and TE Kyle Rudolph are both out of the lineup as well. RB Armando Allen, the team’s only real running option, is done for the year as well. So now, QB Tommy Rees has to take over. He has thrown for 413 yards and four TDs this year, and he did do a great job finding WR Michael Floyd, who is now really the only prospective NFL talent on this team at that moment.
The Irish just don’t have the horses to run with Utah in this one. The Utes just have to stay focused on the goal at hand, and they should be able to come into South Bend and walk out with yet another dominating victory in which the defense really flexes its muscles after getting embarrassed at home a week ago.
NCAA Football Free Pick: Utah Utes -5.5
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