Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly should simply look at the Las Vegas numbers when choosing his starting quarterback for the team’s home opener against South Florida on Sept. 3 at Notre Dame Stadium.
Senior quarterback Dayne Crist posted a 2-5-2 against-the-spread mark in his nine starts during the 2010 campaign. When looking closely at the five losses against the spread, the Fighting Irish failed to cover those games by an incredible 12.8 points a game.
The numbers could have been much worse if not for a season-ending left leg injury that was suffered during the second possession of a humiliating 28-27 home loss to Tulsa. Crist failed to complete two passes in that contest and may not get the opportunity to throw in the famous uniform again.
Tommy Rees started the remaining four games during the 2010 season and managed to not only win each game, but shatter the bookmaker’s number in the process. Notre Dame beat the spread by an amazing 17.8 points in its victories over Utah, Army, Southern California and Miami (Fla.).
Pressure is certainly on Kelly to make the right decision, as fans in South Bend are not expecting another 8-5 season with 16 starters returning. The offensive line is expected to be a major strength in bringing back four experienced members and the reinstatement of star wide receiver Michael Floyd provides a major downfield weapon.
An improvement on the field is expected in his second year on campus, as he delivered a higher win total at both Central Michigan and Cincinnati after his rookie campaigns there.
Professional bettors will be watching the situation closely until a starter is named, and the lines maker will be ready to make the necessary adjustments.