Notre Dame Virginia Football Pick

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Notre Dame

vs.

Virginia

Free College

Football Pick

9/12/15

Notre Dame looked really, really good in its opening 38-3 win over Texas. Unfortunately for the Irish, they lost starting running back Tarean Folston to an ACL injury. Things didn’t go quite as well for Virginia against UCLA, as it was gashed by a great debut from a true freshman quarterback. As expected, the line jumped a bit and the Irish were a -12.5 point favorite by midweek on the road (at mybookie.ag).

The Fighting Irish immediately put their name in the Playoff conversation after a dominant win against the Longhorns. Not only was Malik Zaire impressive at quarterback, but also the defense was smothering, not allowing Texas to do anything. Sure, Texas doesn’t have a great offense, but Notre Dame’s defense was its biggest question and it got off to a nice start allowing just 163 total yards.

Virginia will need to do a better job than that to cover at home. Quarterback Matt Johns didn’t do a whole lot against a fast UCLA defense, throwing for 238 yards and a touchdown. Their ground Game wasn’t much better, totaling 98 yards on 2.9 yards per carry. To cover, Virginia will need either a better offensive effort, or its defense will somehow need to contain Zaire and company.

Virginia could do nothing against freshman QB Josh Rosen, and Malik Zaire may be able to do something similar after going 19-of-22 for 313 yards and three touchdowns against a solid Texas defense. Notre Dame’s running Game is still a question, especially with Folston going down, but C.J. Prosise looks ready to takeover that spot. Zaire, along with wide receiver Will Fuller, look to be in line for monstrous seasons. Fuller caught seven balls for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the opener.

The Cavaliers will have their hands full on both sides of the ball, much like in the first Game. Without a late touchdown, Virginia wouldn’t have covered against UCLA, and now with a line just over 10 points, they’ll need to play off the home crowd to make this Game more competitive. The Cavaliers lost two Games at home last year, one by eight points to UCLA and another by one point to North Carolina.

If the Irish can get another big win here, the hype will be overwhelming for this team. Virginia will likely have a tough time running the ball again in this Game behind Taquan Mizzell (45 yards) and Albert Reid (31 yards), and that will in turn make for another difficult outing for Matt Johns. Johns doesn’t have any outstanding receivers, and was pressured often, which led to eight passes to running back Mizzell. Mike London wants to have a power running Game, but he can’t do that if they aren’t moving the ball.

Virginia has a solid defense, but going against good offensive lines and quarterbacks that can make plays isn’t going to help numbers. If Zaire and Notre Dame can backup that first Game with another 30-point effort, this Irish team may just be for real.

Our Pick – Using last years data plus week 1, Our model has this as a 2 point Game with Notre Dame on top. We then have to figure out if the additions and losses to each roster translates into an additioal 9 points in the final margin.

We suggest it doesn’t. Virginia coach Mike London is on the hot seat and there would be no better way to go about saving ones job than to beat Notre Dame in what amounts to one of the biggest home Games for Virginia football ever. Virginia +11.5

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