Pittsburgh +17.5 @ Notre Dame
Wake up the echoes in South Bend as Notre Dame looks to be back as a player on the national stage. The Irish, who are off to their most successful start in almost 20 years proved doubters wrong a week ago in a blowout win of Oklahoma in Norman. College football fans such as myself were waiting for the Irish to implode as they have done so many times during the last two decades, but this year’s team appears to be different. Led by Heisman candidate Manti Te’o on defense, Notre Dame has been stifling opponents allowing 293 yards per game including giving up just 13 points to an Oklahoma team averaging over 44 ppg a week ago. Irish QB Everrett Golston has done just enough with his arm to complement Notre Dame’s tough rushing attack.
Pittsburgh has righted the ship to an extent after starting out 0-2 in head coach Paul Chryst’s first year as a division one coach. The Panthers have won four of their last six, including a 47-17 drubbing of Temple a week ago. Pitt QB Tino Sunseri has been fantastic this season, throwing for 13 touchdowns and just shy of 2200 yards while running backs Ray Graham and Rushel Shell have led a solid yet not spectacular rushing game.
What will happen: Notre Dame clearly has the talent advantage in this game. The Irish sport quite possibly the best defense in the country and have a well-balanced offense to boot. But coming off their biggest game in years, Notre Dame is ripe for a letdown. For Pitt, this is their national championship – a chance to ruin Notre Dame’s season in front of a national audience. Paul Chryst is known for his offensive prowess so expect him to pull out every trick in book for this game. Look for the Irish to come out flat and for the Panthers to move the ball on the ground early, making their play-action game much more effective. In what will most likely be a low scoring, cold November game, the Panthers put a scare into the Irish.
The Prediction: Notre Dame 24 Pittsburgh 16
The Play: Pittsburgh +17.5
YTD Record: 7-8