4 Notre Dame Players Potentially Suspended for Academic Fraud

David Lawrence

Saturday, August 16, 2014 9:09 AM GMT

Four projected starters for Notre Dame’s college football team have been temporarily suspended from the team due to alleged academic fraud. Find out how this affects the betting odds.

 

How Will This Affect Notre Dame?
In a shocking story, not because of the content of the details but because of its timing relative to the upcoming regular season, everyone in college football is now looking at Notre Dame, wondering what’s going to come next. It’s just a fact of life that if any team in any sport loses three starters and a key reserve, the damage should likely be significant and extensive. If it is proven that the players involved did commit academic fraud, Notre Dame’s defense will lose almost 20 percent of its projected starting lineup. Three of the four players named in the probe on Friday afternoon are from the Fighting Irish’s defense: defensive back KaiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams, and the one reserve player named in the investigation, linebacker Kendall Moore. The other player comes from the team’s offense, in the person of receiver DaVaris Daniels.

When Notre Dame made the national title game in the 2012 season, the Fighting Irish were strong in all aspects of their defense. Their defensive line was excellent against the run, as shown in a goal-line stand at the end of a win against Stanford, a team with a very physical and powerful offensive line. The Irish used the linebacking of Manti Te’o, who finished in the top three of the Heisman Trophy voting that season, to come up with a mixture of interceptions, fumble recoveries, pass break-ups, and run stops that all led to superior defensive performances and a lot of game-changing plays. If these players are indeed suspended, the Irish will lose a key player, two of them starters, in all three layers of their defense. That stings.

The loss of Daniels, if it happens, would also hurt the offense. Daniels caught 49 passes for 745 yards at Notre Dame before being suspended after the 2013 season for unspecified academic misdeeds. That loss of speed on the perimeter, if it happens, would hamper the offense.

 

How Will This Affect Week One Of The Season (Notre Dame Versus Rice)?
In the first week of the season against Rice, the reality of having less depth and a smaller number of proven players would hurt Notre Dame’s receiving corps and its overall defense. The thing to note about Rice is that it is coming off a great season, in which it won the Conference USA championship. Rice is not as strong as Notre Dame, but if the Irish lose this group of four players, the Owls could legitimately expect to be much more competitive. Rice pushed Texas A&M last year in an early season game, and Texas A&M was better than compared to Notre Dame if the Irish lose these players.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":293738, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

How To Bet The News
The line on Notre Dame has already dropped from -23 to -20 at TheGreek. It could fall even further. If the line remains higher than 17 points, that might be asking too much of a Notre Dame team in the event that these players are prevented from playing in the season opener – especially when you consider that the Irish have failed to cover the spread 19 of the last 26 times they’ve been favored by 21.5 to 31.5. We’ll have to see where the line settles.