It’s been a long time since The Irish were 2-0 and all was right under the Golden Dome. Ha. Personally, I’ve never seen such anxiety during a win (against Purdue last Saturday) and the amount of nervous ink spilled after a loss was unprecedented. And yet. And yet, Notre Dame rose to 20 in the AP Poll and they are set to play Michigan State in East Lansing in PRIME TIME. So, what’s it mean and how should you be betting your mortgage payment? This week, The Subway Domer met me at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and he schooled me on a few things. After his visit, I jetted over to Strong and True. Peep my answers there.
1.) We’re playing the tenth ranked team in the country at their place. We’re ranked 20th. They’re 2-0, we’re 2-0. Vegas has them giving 6. I wanted to write “only” because I thought it’d be at least a touchdown. What’s Vegas know that we don’t? Is this just their way to get the Irish faithful to put stupid money on a game that really is further out-of-reach or are the Irish faithful just so conditioned to be nervous that we’re looking for issues and ignoring the fact that we’re 2-0 and we beat a pretty decent Big Ten team with our second- and third-stringers?
Vegas is smarter than all of us put together times a million. They make cash hand over fist for a reason. In fact, I’m in the crowd that thinks Vegas should be the ones that put out the rankings and help decide the top 4 teams for the playoffs. With Notre Dame, it’s a little trickier. Vegas knows the Irish fanbase is like a mob of crackheads that are drawn to a rock the size of a bowling ball. They set the line and then sit back and collect the bets as the line shrinks- which then draws in the other crowd. It’s genius. However, this spread confuses me. I had thought it was around 3.5, gone up to 4.5 and then back down again to 3.5. Please excuse me as I lay down my retirement and take the 6 points… TOO EASY SON!
2.) Purdue presented a solution to stopping our perhaps not surprisingly very good ground game by stacking the box with 19 players. Does MSU do anything different? Or, do they trust in their even better defensive line and try to both stop the run AND cover Eifert? Given he was Golson’s safety-valve against Purdue, does MSU have enough talent to deal with both?
With Michigan State, it has less to do with “talent” and more to do with Pat Narduzzi’s system, which is outstanding. Sparty has some good players on defense, but it all comes down to how each one of those 11 guys does their job. It’s an intricate system that uses stunts, games, and a variety of blitzes out of their base.
So to really answer the question… yep.
3.) Doesn’t Le’Veon Bell play right into our strengths? Maxwell was pretty shaky against Boise State, so where’s the threat?
Absolutely Bell plays into our strengths and Maxwell is still a first time starter that hasn’t seen a defense this physical and athletic outside of practice- which doesn’t mean jack.
The threat may be that this is a better offensive line than what they had last year when the Irish held them to around 29 yards rushing. Outside of that, I’m not a big buyer of their offense. Still, maybe a WR decides to step up, or Bell and hos blockers just decide to man up. At any rate, I’m not scared. Not even a little.