Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Michigan Wolverines
College Football: Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 3:30 PM EST (ABC)
The Line: Michigan +3
A classic early season rivalry resumes as the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame travel to the Big House in Ann Arbor to take on the University of Michigan Wolverines. There should be a full house in the stadium and millions of eyes watching as both teams showed promising signs in their openers.
Notre Dame looked like they had finally gotten things together last season in their bowl appearance and they were able to carry that momentum into the first game of this year.
Jimmy Clausen was stellar behind center, throwing deep, accurate and often against one of the nation's worst pass defenses from a year ago, Nevada. Michael Floyd was superlative and wide open all day in scoring three touchdowns.
Even more impressive was the Irish defense pitching a shutout. The Irish defense by no means dominated, but managed to create opportunities and turnovers and took advantage of all of them. Nevada was able to move the ball between the 20's and even beyond but never got on the scoreboard.
Michigan dominated in their game against Western Michigan from start to finish. The offense ran and threw at will, led by freshman Tate Forcier.
Forcier threw for three touchdowns and carried the ball 11 times as Rich Rodriguez's system began to take hold in Ann Arbor.
All told, the Wolverines gained 439 yards. The defense was solid, intercepting twice and holding WMU scoreless until the game was well-decided late in the fourth quarter.
While it's tough to look at individual team trends because of Michigan's uncharacteristically bad season last year, there are some strong trends regarding this series as a whole.
Notre Dame is 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 in this series but the underdog has covered in eight of the last 10 and the home team has covered in five of the last seven.
While I was impressed with Notre Dame's win and their defensive output, they gave up a ton of yards and looked to be a step away from being scored on at any time.
I honestly believe this game is pick at best or Michigan should be favored as they have enough size and good enough athletes that they won't get pushed around by the Irish.
Mitch's Pick: Michigan +3