There is nothing over-hyped about the 2012 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, which hasn't been the case in recent seasons. At No. 5 in the initial BCS Standings, they will take on Brigham Young in a game where they must avoid a home letdown.
Despite getting lit up for 42 points against a high-powered Oregon State offense this past Saturday, the Cougars still rank seventh in the nation, allowing just 13.7 points per game. Notre Dame sports a dominant defense as well, which makes this an intriguing matchup.
Here is all the viewing information, polling implications and what to watch for in South Bend this weekend.
Will Notre Dame cover the 14-point spread against BYU?
When: Saturday, October 20 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
Listen: Notre Dame IMG Network
Live Stream: NBC Sports
Betting Line (via OddsShark.com): Notre Dame -14
BYU Injury Report
Ian Dulan, DL (back) QUESTIONABLE.
Notre Dame Injury Report
Everett Golson, QB (head) QUESTIONABLE, Chase Hounshell, DE (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE, Amir Carlisle, RB (ankle) QUESTIONABLE.
(Note: all injury information courtesy of USA TODAY)
BCS/Top-25 Poll Implications
Sitting at 4-3, an upset for the Cougars would probably net them some Top 25 votes, but they would be unlikely to be in the BCS picture.
For Notre Dame, it's a different story.
The Irish must have a convincing performance as heavy favorites to remain in the thick of the national championship discussion. This game doesn't have as many direct ramifications in the rankings as last week's win against rival Stanford or the subsequent road trip to Oklahoma. Still, the Irish must take care of business at home.
What They're Saying
Salt Lake City Tribune reporter Jay Drew previews BYU's matchup with Notre Dame, labeling it as the toughest test yet for the Cougars. But as quarterback Riley Nelson states, the team will be ready for a hard-hitting, tough day on the gridiron.
It is going to be another tooth-and-nail dogfight, on the road, and they are a great team. We respect them. But we are going to prepare harder, and do everything we can to give ourselves a chance to win.
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times logged a quote from Irish tight end Tyler Eifert, who praised yet another clutch effort by QB Tommy Rees in the team's 20-13 overtime win over Stanford. Rees entered the game after an injury to starter Everett Golson and led the Irish to its final two scoring drives.
He’s always ready to go. It’s a tough situation. . . . But he understands our offense so well and the defense so well, it doesn’t take much time for him to get used to it.
With Golson's status for Saturday up in the air, Rees has an outside chance to get the nod under center against BYU.
BYU Player to Watch: RB Jamaal Williams
The Cougars have a four-deep backfield, much like the Fighting Irish do. Williams leads the way with 345 yards and five touchdowns.
Although he made it to pay dirt twice against Oregon State, Williams was held to just 36 yards on 15 carries as the featured back. It will be interesting to see how he responds against what will be an even stiffer test.
Notre Dame Player to Watch: QB Everett Golson
Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune reported that Golson suffered a concussion in the Stanford game. He also quoted Brian Kelly, who feels very confident that Golson will be cleared early in the week and ready to play against the Cougars.
Golson has been nothing if not inconsistent this season. If the stout BYU run defense is able to slow down Notre Dame's ground game, it will be vital that the sophomore signal-caller responds by making plays through the air.
The Cougar rush defense was first in the nation entering their matchup with a surprisingly good Oregon State team. They held their own relatively well in that dimension.
But the physical nature of Notre Dame's punishing ground game—which averages 181 yards per game—will be the toughest test BYU has encountered all season. The Cougars must win this matchup more or less to have a puncher's chance in this one.
The renaissance of the Notre Dame program under head coach Brian Kelly continues to be the focus. While the tradition and passion in South Bend hasn't died, the team has struggled in recent years. Kelly's team must avoid this potential pitfall in its bid for the BCS title game.
The mismatch that BYU's offense will face will be too much to overcome. While the Irish's running game is sure to be put to the test, they should be able to out-muscle the Cougars at the point of attack. It will be close early, but Notre Dame will pull away in the second half.
Final score: Notre Dame 24, BYU 7