Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Navy Midshipmen
College Football Pick: Notre Dame -14.5 point spread (November 1st 2014)
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The fact that Navy was able to play Notre Dame close last year might have some looking to take the two touchdowns and the hook, but I believe there’s a big difference between the Fighting Irish team that took the field last season and the one that has started out 2014 6-1. The biggest difference being Everett Golson. Keep in mind that in 2012, when Notre Dame went 12-0, they absolutely dominated the Midshipmen in a 50-10 win. I don’t know that it will be quite that big of a blowout this time around, but I like Notre Dame’s chances of winning here by more than two touchdowns.
Navy just hasn’t been all that impressive in my eyes. I really thought the Midshipmen had a chance at a double-digit win season with 15 starters coming back, including star quarterback Keenan Reynolds, but they haven’t been able to put it together. Back-to-back wins over the likes of VMI and San Jose State aren’t going to change my opinion on this team being able to compete with a far superior opponent. We have already seen Navy lose to the likes of Rutgers, Western Kentucky and Air Force.
Prior to their brutal 3-game stretch that had them go up against Stanford, North Carolina and Florida State, each of Notre Dame’s first 4 wins came by at least 16-points. I know they had a close call against the Tar Heels, who haven’t been all that impressive, but that was a huge trap game.
One of things that I really like about the Fighting Irish in this matchup is they come in off that heartbreaking loss to Florida State, which they feel they should have won. I look for this team to come out extremely motivated to put that loss behind them and I don’t see them overlooking Navy after last year’s close call. Another big advantage for Notre Dame is that they come in off a bye, which has allowed them two full weeks to prepare for Navy’s option based offense.
The Midshipmen’s run-oriented offense plays right into the strength of the Notre Dame defense, which enters ranked 12th in the country against the run, allowing just 102.7 ypg. If the Fighting Irish can keep Navy from having success on the ground, it’s going to make it extremely difficult for the Midshipmen to keep this close. Navy is not strong defensively and are not a team that’s capable of playing from behind. The Fighting Irish should have no problem winning here by 20+ points!
Notre Dame is 23-10 ATS in their last 33 road games against strong rushing teams who average 4.75 or more yards/carry, while Navy is a mere 5-14 ATS in their last 19 versus good offensive teams that are averageing 425 or more total yards/game. Take Notre Dame!
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