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Notre Dame vs South Florida Week 1 College Football Prediction with Analysis

9/3/11

Notre Dame kicks off the 2011 season at home Saturday as they host South Florida in a game that matches two solid coaches, both in their 2nd year at their with their current programs, Skip Holtz at South Florida and Brian Kelly at ND. Notre Dame is a -10 point favorite at 5 Dimes and the total at SBG Global is listed at 47.

One interesting angle here is the Skip Holtz connection to Notre Dame. Not only was his father Lou a former head coach of the Irish, but Skip also played for the school and was on the coaching staff for 3 years, two as offensive coordinator. Think Skip his licking his chops at the thought of going in there and coming out with an upset win?

 

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It won't be easy though. All signs point towards Notre Dame being a force to be reckoned with this year. The offense was middle of the pack nationwide last season averaging 26 points per game but they are loaded with returning starters, all with another year under their belts with Kelly's schemes. The Notre Dame defense was a very respectable 23rd in the nation giving up 20 points per game, and like the offense, is loaded with returning starters.

South Florida isn't so lucky in the returning starter department but they do have a talented team that's deep at several key positions and while they weren't starters last year, they were with the team and did see plenty of action. The South Florida numbers were very similar to Notre Dames last year. The offense averaged 24 points per game and the defense gave up on average 20 points per game, same as ND. Like Notre Dame, the Bulls also have another year under their belts with Holtz approach.

While this won't be a Key Release for us, we'll still offer an opinion. We love a nice sized, capable underdog and that's what we think we have here in South Florida. On the offensive side of the ball they have perhaps one of the best QB's in the nation in B.J. Daniels and he has plenty of experienced targets to throw to.

 

The Bulls figure to be solid defensively once again as well, and we have a ton of respect for Skip Holtz and the job he has done in the past at UCONN and East Carolina. A quick look back to last year shows us that South Florida was competitive every time they took the field with the exception of the Florida and West Virginia games. Every other game was either a win or a loss by much less than 10 points.

The one piece to the puzzle that keeps us off this game as a Key Release is the Notre Dame offense. They have the potential to be very good. Overwhelmingly good. Kelly is an offensive coach that was averaging 38 points per game when he left Cincinnati. If Notre Dame starts putting up those kind of numbers on offense, they could put up some wide margins this year over their opponents.

So, we'll take the wait and see approach with the Irish for a week or two, but we'll go ahead and make a small recommendation here on South Florida plus the generous 10 points. South Florida +10

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