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MICHIGAN AT NOTRE DAME
Michigan -1.5 over Notre Dame - We mentioned prior to this season that this was a big year for Charlie Weis and Notre Dame. Weis either produces, or he's history. Simple as that. This year Notre Dame has a schedule in front of them that couldn't possibly be any easier. No wonder Lou Holts is picking them to win 10 games. But from where I sit, I say no way. Even with the easy schedule, these games on their card look like toss ups at best. There are no guarantees anywhere on this schedule. With toss ups, you win some and you lose some.
The Irish even catch a break by catching Michigan in transition as they implement this new spread offense. Otherwise I'd say this one isn't close. Notre Dame was terrible last year. It's impossible to improve drastically off the results they had. They didn't just lose. They were not even competitive. So, all eyes were on them as they opened their season against lowly San Diego State, who, by the way, lost to Cal Poly the week before!
Notre Dame trailed after 3 quarters 13-7 and gave up 274 yards through the air to the Aztecs. The improvement is just not there. I understand you can't make a judgment on a season based on one game, and the first game at that, but folks, San Diego State isn't very good. At least Michigan has an excuse for it's slow start!
Speaking of Michigan, they are obviously struggling getting this offense going. However, they have two games under their belts to ND's one, and this offense will eventually click. It's only going to get better as each week goes by. In a way, it's a plus for Notre Dame to get Michigan early. But at the same time, it's a negative in that, Notre Dame is a slow work in progress itself and really not ready for prime time at this point.
Michigan is the more talented team. No question about it. It's a matter of getting this offense humming. If this is the week things start to click, look out. But in all likelihood, that won't be necessary to beat the Irish. ND couldn't stop anyone last year defensively. It could be a perfect opportunity for Rich Rodriguez to work in a few more wrinkles to the offense which he says will take over a year before the full package is in place.
This is more of a play against Notre Dame than it is a play on Michigan. I just don't think Notre Dame is going to be very good this year. I think a Michigan team trying to get a new offense going, and having some problems with their secondary, is still head over heels better than San Diego State and the Irish struggled big time with them. Two games under their belts also gives them an edge.
I think Michigan will still make some noise in the Big 10 this year. I don't think Notre Dame will make much noise at all. This game will tell us moreof course, and in spite of the fact that it's not what it was a few years ago, this is still a HUGE game for both programs and will be well worth watching. Michigan -1.5 (free half point at skybook)
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