The undefeated Notre Dame Irish (10-0) are on the outside looking in on the BCS championship game. Despite going undefeated against one of the toughest schedules in the nation, the Irish need blowouts of Wake Forest and USC or a loss by Kansas State or Oregon in order to move into consideration.
Winning big against a mediocre ACC opponent might not be enough to sway voters if K-State and the Ducks continue their winning ways.
The Demon Deacons (5-5, 3-5) aren't going to just come into South Bend and let the Irish walk all over them, either. It's going to take another solid effort from the Irish defense in order to keep the team on schedule and set up a regular season finale against USC with some very heavy implications behind it.
Look for the Irish to play conservative football and dominate on the defensive side of the ball. They haven't truly blown out anyone with exception to Miami and Navy and likely won't again this week.
When: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
Live Stream: Notre Dame’s NBC Live Stream
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: 44, Spread: Notre Dame (-24)
The 44 point spread could go either way in this one. Wake Forest has not played great defense but they haven’t scored very much at times either this season, especially against good defenses. Notre Dame’s defense is alright.
Still, there is a lot of pressure hanging in the balance this game and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see a conservative game plan from the Irish as was seen last week against Boston College. That means a low-scoring and grinding game that the Irish will end up coming out on top of but not covering the spread.
Go with the under also, Wake Forest isn’t going to score much, if at all, in this one.
Injury Report via USA Today (as of 11/13/2012)
Steven Chase, T, Questionable
Devin Bolling, T, Out
Matt James, WR, Out
Nick Tausch, K, Questionable
Wake Forest will be attempting to play spoiler to Notre Dame’s BCS championship aspirations as they head into South Bend on Saturday. Their season has long been over but they will have a national audience watching their upset bid this week.
For the Irish, Brian Kelly’s team must win this game convincingly. Another game slip-up like the narrow overtime win over Pittsburgh and the Irish could kiss their BCS titles hope away.
Even if Notre Dame wins big they still have the daunting task of swaying voters to propel them over the likes of Kansas State and/or Oregon, but that doesn’t seem to be likely considering the voting results to this point.
Wake Forest Player to Watch: Tanner Price, QB
Price hasn’t had a bad season, but it hasn’t been a great one either. He’s coming off a poor showing against N.C. State last week but also had his best game of the season against Boston College two weeks ago.
He threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns, all to Michael Campanaro, to lead the Demon Deacons to a big ACC win. He’ll have a much tougher challenge throwing the ball without the likely luxury of a running game against Notre Dame’s top defense.
Notre Dame Player to Watch: Manti Te'o, LB
It’s not every day a linebacker’s name is being tossed around in Heisman Trophy discussions. Te’o has been an integral cog of the nation’s top-ranked scoring defense. He’s the leader in the middle of the unit and has backed that billing up with his excellent play this season.
Not only is he everywhere and in on every play, but his fire and determination sparks his teammates and helps make everyone better. Look for another big performance as the Irish linebacker continues to state his case for the nation’s top individual player award.
Prediction: Notre Dame 33, Wake Forest 10
This game isn’t going to be the one that ends the Irish’s perfect season. If it’s going to happen it’s going to be in the Coliseum in their season finale against the USC Trojans. Notre Dame has the advantage in every aspect of the game and just needs to come out and execute and move one step closer to bowl season.