Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Saturday, September 25, 2021 – 12:00 PM EDT at Soldier Field
Last year, Notre Dame made the College Football Playoff thanks to a statement win against Clemson and a balanced offense. While they remain undefeated, the Fighting Irish have neither of those things this year. Notre Dame has beaten three teams by a combined 20 points, and one of the games was in overtime. They’re lucky to remain undefeated after a terrible start to the season. All of these opponents shouldn’t have had a chance with the Irish, but they all kept it close.
Notre Dame won’t have any mulligans this week. They’ll play against Wisconsin. The Badgers are 1-1, but they’ve been the better team on the field. They barely lost to a highly-ranked Penn State team, and they’re well-rested after not playing last week. This will be a reunion for Jack Coan, Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. He was QB1 for the Badgers before losing his job and transferring. He’ll be looking for revenge against Graham Mertz and Wisconsin, but can he do it?
Keys for Wisconsin to Cover the Spread
Wisconsin’s offense has been weak all year. They only scored once against Penn State, and they only scored four touchdowns against Eastern Michigan. Their game is made for few possessions and long drives, but they still need more consistent scoring on offense.
To do this, look for a better balance between running the ball and passing it. Mertz was viewed as the savior of this program, and he hasn’t necessarily been bad. However, he’s not a catalyst for the offense. That needs to change against Notre Dame. You can still run the ball, but more creativity in the passing game will help you sustain drives and consistently put points on the board.
On defense, Wisconsin has an advantage. They have scouted Jack Coan for years because he was on their team. They know what he does well, and they know how to exploit his flaws. They tried to mask them when he was their quarterback, but now they need to take advantage of this knowledge. If they can force him out of the pocket and hope he makes risky throws, the Badgers will be on track to winning this game.
After that, it comes down to a final score to see if they cover the spread.
Keys for Notre Dame to Cover the Spread
Notre Dame has the talent. Kyren Williams is one of the most underrated running backs in college football. Kyle Hamilton might be the best defensive player in the country. The problems are mental errors and execution.
That’s why it is crucial to get off to a good start this weekend. Notre Dame has struggled early in all of their games so far. They need to make a statement to prove that they are truly a powerhouse in college football. With Wisconsin’s ability to run the ball and Notre Dame’s inability to be aggressive on offense, the Fighting Irish will struggle if they have to play from behind.
Notre Dame has to win this game if they want to make the College Football Playoff. Expect all the stops in this one. They’ll run trick plays and try to convert on fourth downs. They’ll take shots down the field when they think it will work. If this works, they could maybe win this game outright.
However, that is no guarantee. Here’s a pick for the game.
Time for a Pick
Notre Dame has the talent, but they’ve yet to prove that they can put it all together in a game. However, there will be no excuses at a neutral site against a ranked opponent. It’s now or never for the Fighting Irish.
While I don’t see Notre Dame winning this game, the size of the spread scares me. In a low-scoring game where both teams like to run the ball, it will be hard to win by a ton. After all, Notre Dame’s kept games close. I don’t see them getting blown out.
For your NCAAF picks, expect Notre Dame to lose, but they will find a way to cover the spread in the fourth quarter.
NCAAF Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.