Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Navy Midshipmen
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Navy Midshipmen kick off their college football seasons as they meet in Dublin on Saturday. The Fighting Irish are -17 point favorites over the Midshipmen with an over/under point total set at 61.
It’s year three of the Brian Kelly regime in South Bend as Head Coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and in his last gig in Cincinnati it was the year he got his team to a BCS Bowl and he hopes history can repeat itself here. Starting QB Tommy Rees is suspended and will miss this game and freshman Everett Golson gets the nod as the starter. Golson will have plenty of help as the Irish are stacked in the backfield with Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick both proven commodities to take it to the house. Tyler Eifert is one of the better tight ends in the nation but Natre Dame is fairly inexperienced at receiver John Goodman, T.J. Jones and Robby Toma figure to start. Three of five starters from a year ago on the offensive line return but it’s an entirely new right side. Defensively Manti Te’o decided to come back for his senior year and he anchors the unit but the rest of the linebackers are question marks as they can play but most of the spots will be by committee as none has emerged from the bunch. There are some question marks at corner for this defense and Harrison Smith is gone at safety but they should still be decent with two seniors. The 800 pound gorilla for this team is the minus 15 turnover margin that will need to be turned around and it needs to be priority number one as beating good teams like the Irish have on their schedule and turning the ball over aren’t going to happen.
The Navy Midshipmen took a step backwards last season as many of their losses were close but those don’t include the 56-14 shellacking they took at Notre Dame. Trey Miller takes over at QB, this time with practice as his first career start was the game at ND when Kris Proctor went down last year. Miller is one of the better passers in recent Navy history and could add another dimension to the option. Gee Gee Greene is the feature back of a backfield loaded with backs and Noah Copeland figures to start at fullback though he doesn’t have the size that fits the traditional mold for that role. Navy has experience on the OL at both tackles and at center. Defensively it’s an entirely new DL with Wes Henderson having the most experience. Linebackers matt Warrick and Brye French are the strength of the entire unit while the secondary are all tacklers while David Sperry started all 12 games at corner last year. Navy was plus nine in turnover ratio but those five losses by a total of 11 points were their undoing.
Notre Dame is 7-18-2 against the spread in their last 27 games as a favorite, 1-4 against the spread in their last five games overall, and 7-17-1 against the spread in their last 25 games as a favorite of 10.5 points or more. Navy is 4-0 against the spread in their last four November games, 4-1 against the spread in their last five games as an underdog of 10.5 points or more, and 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 games as an underdog. Notre Dame has covered in six of the last eight meetings of these two.
Last year Navy had a QB starting his first game and this year the tables are turned. This just seems like an awful lot of points for a team that gave it up often last season and a team who has been opportunistic for years.
Navy Midshipmen +17 Notre Dame Fighting Irish