Northwestern Wild Cats vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish NCAAF Free Pick

Published November 15, 2014.
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Play on:  Notre Dame Fighting Irish -16.5

Here we have #15 rated Notre Dame (7-2) showing off a 55-31 loss at Arizona State on Saturday, while Northwestern (3-6) visits South Bend after a very depressing home loss to Michigan 10-9.  The Wildcats have now lost 6 straight home games to hated Michigan. Going back to the Irish the loss to ASU (#7) dropped them to #15 from #8 in the playoff agenda.

What happened to ND Saturday is historically a norm rather than an oddity as Eastern and Midwestern units have exhibited harsh experiences when traveling to the desert in the month of November.  Unlike some of their recent games, the Irish were dominated at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  On offense ND could not stop the run as ASU logged a 188-44 yard advantage.  And, because the Irish couldn’t separate at the line of scrimmage QB Golson (446) was forced to throw into small gaps.  The Sun Devils scored twice on interception touchdowns of 58 and 59-yards.  Golson packaged 4 interceptions on the day and the Sun Devils never looked back garnering a 34-10 lead at half-time.  Northwestern is whole different story.

For those who thought the Wildcats still might salvage a winning season, think again as Notre Dame, Purdue and Illinois remain on the schedule. Coach Pat Fitzgerald brought back 17 starters from a 5-7 team that lost four games by eight points or less.  This year the Wildcats three wins came against Western Illinois, Penn State and Wisconsin.  You have to feel for their fans and backers as last week NW and Michigan where scoreless at half-time.  With little time remaining in the game, the Wildcats scored a TD to make it 10-9, but their 2-point (rush) conversion failed.

I have great respect for coach Fitzgerald trying to win the game.  The series between Notre Dame and NW resumes with the Wildcats winning the last encounter back in 1995 by a score of 17-15.  The Irish were 28-point favorites.   Notre Dame has a 37-8-2 lead in the series. This is the first home game for the Irish dating back to UNC on October 11th.  In home games this season the Irish are 3-1 ATS.

By the way, Notre Dame played three neutral site games in Indianapolis, Landover and E. Rutherford which had to have a negative effect on their football team late in the season.  If you research you’ll find some negative technical bias against the Irish but, I can’t see Notre Dame coming in flat.  After the Florida State loss Notre Dame defeated North Carolina 50-43 in a sloppy game for the Irish defense, but this encounter has critical bowl status at stake.  Here it should be Notre Dame 48 Northwestern 10.

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