Michigan vs Notre Dame. Two of the most storied programs in college football history. Two programs who have faced one another 41 times in their history but haven’t done so since 2014. Notre Dame won that game in convincing fashion, beating Michigan 31-0, but a lot has changed since then.
Both teams enter the season with lofty expectations, and a victory on Saturday night would get each of them closer to reaching them.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 1 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Notre Dame Stadium — South Bend, Indiana
TV: NBC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Notre Dame: You’ll have to forgive Notre Dame fans if they seem a bit nervous at the moment. They aren’t worried about playing Michigan — at least, not more than they should be — they’re worried about what recent history suggests for their beloved Fighting Irish. You see, Notre Dame won 10 games last season. It’s the third time Notre Dame has won at least 10 games in a season under Brian Kelly. In 2012, the Irish won 12 games and followed it up with a 9-4 season in 2013. In 2015, Notre Dame went 10-3 and then followed it up with a 4-8 flop in 2016. Can Notre Dame avoid the same drop-off in 2018?
Michigan: Jim Harbaugh’s first two seasons at Michigan went well enough. No, the Wolverines didn’t beat Ohio State and struggled against the Big Ten’s best, but they still went 20-6 in those two seasons. It was the first time Michigan had won 10 games in consecutive seasons since doing so in 2002 and 2003. Then last year happened. Michigan went 8-5 last season despite having an amazing defense, largely because of offensive line struggles and injuries at quarterback. They’ve upgraded the quarterback position with Shea Patterson, but will that be enough to launch Michigan into Big Ten title contention? Saturday night’s game against Notre Dame should provide a clue.
Honestly, just flip a coin. There’s a reason this spread is what it is, and I can’t pretend to have a clear read on how the game will go. Both teams have questions on their offensive line, and both have stout defenses. Odds are the team that doesn’t make the big mistake will win this one. I’ll err on the side of the home underdog. Pick: Notre Dame +1.5
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