Saturday 7:30PM set
Published by: AK98
College Football Game Of The Week
An early evening in South Bend this coming Saturday will see one of this year’s most anticipated college football games as the (6) Ohio St. Buckeyes visit the golden-domers of (9) Notre Dame. Each team has significant games they will play against other Top 10 talent (OSU: Michigan/PSU; ND: USC) but this game was definitely one that was circled on the schedule.
In my household, and the other Subway Alumni across the country, this game holds significant value. We UNDENIABLY HATE OSU due to their father/son role which they have flexed upon us since 1936. That’s 87 years of dominance. While the two teams have only played 7 times in their long, historic existence (with a 59 year hiatus between ‘36 & ‘95), Elmer Layden was the head coach of the golden-domers the last time the Fighting Irish were victorious against the Buckeyes.
We lost twice to them in the 90s (‘95, ‘96), but it wasn’t until our historic letdown in the famous “Brady’s Sister Game” (aka the 2006 Fiesta Bowl) that I learned my family’s disdain for the Ohio St Buckeyes. I was but a wee buck, but I can still remember my father’s man-crush on Brady Quinn; I can remember asking why there was a “lady wearing two jerseys; and I can remember the uncharacteristically aggressive reaction by my father in the waning moments of the game.
Fast forward into my teens, and it was my guys in blue & gold getting the chance to extinguish ghosts from a decade past. Coming off a gut-wrenching loss to (9) Stanford in Palo Alto at the end of the season, we looked to avenge our Fiesta Bowl loss against the Buckeyes from my adolescent years. But it would, once again, be the Buckeyes & their fans who would have the last laugh.
Our lottery pick ILB Jaylon Smith decided to do what few players would’ve, showing the country is heart & love for our university by refusing to opt out of the final game (after narrowly missing out on a chance to play for a National Championship) in preparation for the NFL Draft; a draft where he was betting favorite to land inside Top 10. We’re talking booku bucks).
As his reward for ignoring the advice of his representation, he would blow out his knee in the 1st quarter of the game, tearing his ACL & LCL, losing out on millions of dollars & falling into the 2nd Round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Throw in a loss from last year & my hereditary hatred for OSU had been fully cemented.
Now to Saturday….
The early preseason predictions favored Ohio State by a margin of 8 points. Yet, after betting supercomputers & betting syndicates observed their performance over the past four weeks, the spread has been adjusted to favor the Buckeyes by -3.
In matches against Indiana, Youngstown State, and Western Kentucky, Ohio State’s defense has managed just five sacks (ranking 91st) and picked up three interceptions (ranking 44th). Their defensive unit is about to face its sternest test when they play against the impressive offense of Notre Dame on our turf. Ohio State has conceded only two touchdowns in their three matches, and has been one of the brighter spots early in the season for the Buckeyes.
Notre Dame’s star quarterback, and my favorite Heisman candidate, Sam Hartman has picked up right where he left off after leaving Wake Forest for the brighter pastures overlooked by Touchdown Jesus. He’s thrown for 1,061 yards, secured 13 touchdowns, and has been interception-free over four games against teams like Central Michigan, NC State, Tennessee State, and Navy. Notre Dame has given up five TDS over four games & both are among the top defenses nationally.
I also expect impact player ILB Marist Liufau to have a nationally recognized breakout game. Other than star CB Benjamin Morrison, Liufau is the one I’d be scouting if I were a GM for an NFL team. And watch out for Ohio St. transfer Javontae Jean-Baptiste to make a splash, having additional motivation playing against the team that overlooked his talents.
Notre Dame having home-field advantage, an NFL-calibur quarterback, stars on all levels of the defense, combined with the previous spread favoring Ohio State by 8 points, (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) but I’m betting on the horse with a blue & gold saddle. Of course, I have been known to set myself up for disappointment, and this could be another example of that.
Kyle McCord hasn’t been particularly effective early on, but the pundits are still high on his potential. Still, I trust HC Marcus Freeman & DC Al Golden’s defense to make life difficult for the Ohio St. offense with exotic coverages & blitz packages that the young QB hasn’t seen before. The real X-Factor of the game is will superstar wideout & #1 WR prospect for OSU Marvin Harrison Jr. do with his matchup against top cornerback Benjamin Morrison.
Harrison Jr. has been making mincemeat of opposing DBs in the same fashion that made his father a Hall of Famer at the pro level. Look for Ohio St. to try and establish a run game to pull up the Irish defensive backs so they can go over the top later on. Dismantling the line of scrimmage of OSU will be a key point to Golden’s gameplan.
My bets are on the Fighting Irish with a +3 spread at odds of -105 and a slight side bet on the Money Line at +140.
Should Notre Dame secure a victory, their odds to reach the College Football Playoff & Sam Hartman’s chances to bring home the Heisman trophy will increase significantly. So, if you’re leaning towards a win for the Irish, it might be wise to place your bets before the weekend’s game so you can receive more favorable odds.
Prediction: Notre Dame +3
*Odds sourced from DraftKings.