The biggest game in the Midwest will be this Saturday night. ESPN Gameday will be in town, Notre Dame’s coming to town, but are they ready for the “Nightmare from the North?”
The past two years have been the most vicious battles in recent years between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Michigan Wolverines. Both games were decided by highlight performances from a Michigan quarterback. Will this be the hat trick year for Michigan? I’m saying, “Yes!”
The first games for both these teams last weekend were overshadowed by the dark clouds that the weather provided. In these games we saw two new sides to both teams.
We saw a Notre Dame offense that was unsure of itself, causing key turnovers. And then we saw a Notre Dame defense that fell for the old “Navy trick”, the side to side running, then running up the middle, play action short passes, then back to side-to-side running, etc.
In Michigan, we saw a more calm offense. The offense really didn’t get a chance to showcase much because the defense was busy scoring the points. We also saw an aggressive Michigan defense that not only forced turnovers, but scored off of them.
Last year, Denard Robinson had 258 yards rushing and 244 passing yards against Notre Dame in South Bend. That’s 502 yards of offense total. I’ll give the Irish defense credit, they look better this year. The defense looks stronger, deeper, more experienced. But guess what? Denard Robinson has evolved. He finished last year with a quarterback rating of 149.6 and had the Big Ten single-season total offense record (4,189 yards).
This is just my opinion. I may wake up Sunday morning with hundreds of rants saying, “You were wrong!!!” But my opinion is based off how each team has grown so far this season. Notre Dame has made some small steps defensively and in the run game since last year. Michigan had a dominating defense in week 1 and we all know what Denard Robinson is capable of. In order to beat Michigan on the ground and in the air, the Irish have to be flawless. In week 1, flawless wasn’t in the cards for the Irish.
Notre Dame has the coach and the talent to win. The Irish may also be favored. But this game is just too early for Notre Dame to be ready to go at Michigan 100%. It’s at the Big House, at night, in a sea of Maize and Blue. I’m taking the Wolverines in this one. Another highlight-Heisman performance by Shoelace. And Notre Dame once again blaming coaching. Because like it or not, since Lou Holtz left, nothing has been the same.
It will be another game to remember.
Prediction: Notre Dame 21 Michigan 31