Pick – Analysis
The Alabama vs. Georgia Game is getting most of the attention this weekend, but the matchup between Notre Dame and Clemson is also one with playoff implications between two teams in the Top 12. A lot of questions will be answered in this Game. The Tigers opened -2.5 and the line has since moved to pick em as of Monday afternoon at mybookie.ag
Clemson finally has a chance to prove it’s for real after two easy wins and then escaping past Louisville in its last Game. In addition to being at home, the Tigers took last weekend off so they’ll be a little more refreshed as well. They have looked good for the most part, but in their first test of the year, they didn’t do much offensively against Louisville. against a high-scoring Notre Dame squad, that will likely need to change.
The Fighting Irish are ranked No. 6 in the AP polls, but are led by their backup quarterback. This Game is going to be interesting for a number of reasons, one of them being that all of their early-season wins look worse than they did at the time. Texas may be even worse than a year ago, Virginia just got creamed by Boise State and Georgia Tech lost at Duke. Even against Massachusetts last weekend, the Irish gave up 27 points, although scoring 62 points themselves, which was good enough for the cover.
There should be points in this Game for a couple reasons and they both involve each team’s defense. Neither are as good as they used to be is what it comes down to. This isn’t the same Clemson defense from a couple years ago and the same can be said about Notre Dame. However, both offenses have looked potent with multiple options on the offensive end.
Replacing QB Malik Zaire is DeShone Kizer, who has looked solid and seemingly has the ability to lead the Irish to the playoff. He may not be Zaire, but as long as he doesn’t give Games away, there will always be an opportunity for the Irish to win. Through 2.5 Games, Kizer is completing 67.7% of his passes for five touchdowns to go with an interception in each of his two starts. One area the offense has counted on has been the running Game behind C.J. Prosise. Despite an early injury to Tarean Folston, Prosise has gone off and has surpassed 149 yards in three straight Games. On the year, he has 600 yards and six touchdowns, which will be Clemson’s first area of concern on defense. Not to mention, the Tigers will need to find a way to contain receiver Will Fuller, who already has 454 yards and six touchdowns.
On the other side, the Clemson offense lives and dies with quarterback Deshaun Watson. He may have been in some preseason Heisman talks, but that doesn’t look to be happening. He’s still having a decent start to the season with 7 TDs, 3 INTs and completing 74.4% of his passes. This offense will need to Scorepoints in this Game so Watson has his work cut out for him. Much like Fuller on the other side, Artavis SCott (188 yards, TDs) gets most of the receiving work for the Tigers. However, their running Game isn’t as potent with Wayne Gallman (310 yards, 3 TDs).
These teams are getting rated close to even, but the Tigers get the edge at home with this also being Kizer’s first road Game as a starter. The over has hit in five straight road Games for the Irish and the Tigers have covered in Four straight home Games.
Our Pick – Incredibly difficult Game to handicap in Our opinion. One reason being the lack of legitimate competition Clemson has faced. Another being the fact that Clemson has so many new faces that we can’t reliably use last year as a starting point.
Certainly the home field will come into play for Clemson as the atmosphere will be electric with Notre Dame in the building for a national TV night Game.
We simply don’t know what to make of the Tigers at this point with only the Louisville Game as a barometer. With that in mind, Notre Dame is the more veteran team and we know what we’re getting with them. In the case of the Irish, we CAN take a look at last year and get an idea of what they are capable of.
Oh, and let the loss of a starting QB, such has happened to Notre Dame this year, be a lesson to all handicappers. Unless we are talking about the rare superstar QB’s, the loss of the QB in most cases causes an overreaction by bettors. A starting QB can be the most overrated position on the football field. Notre Dame pk over Clemson