Losers of the last three games to Michigan, Notre Dame has been named a 5.5-point favorite when the two teams clash in South Bend Saturday night (via vegasinsider.com).
The Wolverines have actually won five of the last six encounters in the storied series which dates back to 1887.
But Notre Dame claimed its favored role with three straight wins to open the 2012 season, including an impressive 20-3 win over the Michigan State Spartans last week. The Wolverines, on the other hand, were crushed by Alabama, 41-14, to open the season, before knocking off pesky Air Force and outgunned Massachusetts.
While the Fighting Irish appear to be better than last year's edition, which finished 8-5, let's not award them a BCS bowl berth just yet.
Regardless of what happened in East Lansing, the Michigan game will be no picnic. In fact, those last three Michigan victories came at the hands—and feet—of a pair of talented dual-threat quarterbacks: Tate Forcier and, most recently, Denard Robinson.
While Forcier won the 2009 affair with a nifty touchdown pass in the closing seconds, Robinson highlighted the 2010 win with an 87-yard touchdown run, culminating with a 16-yard scoring strike.
Robinson, who will close out his senior season with a host of Michigan records, passed for 587 yards and rushed for 366 yards in his two victories over Notre Dame.
On Saturday, Notre Dame will trot out its own version of a versatile signal-caller, Everett Golson. The heralded sophomore took the job away from Tommy Rees, who tossed three touchdown passes against the Wolverines last year.
Let's look further to see if the Irish can cover the spread, or if they can actually win the game.