Superior Defense Makes Ohio St. Our Fiesta Bowl Pick vs. Notre Dame

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 7:20 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015 7:20 PM GMT

The Fiesta Bowl takes place on Jan 1st, 2016 as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Ohio St. Buckeyes clash. Get the best college football picks from our capper's preview.

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Free Fiesta Bowl Pick: Ohio St. -6
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

University of Phoenix, Glendale, Arizona
Notre Dame vs. Ohio St (-6-) 1:00 ET ESPN
Notre Dame and Ohio St. travel to Glendale, AZ for this New Year’s Day meeting in the Fiesta Bowl. The game begins at 1:00 ET as televised by ESPN. Though it is a New Year’s Day Bowl game in the highly respected Fiesta Bowl, it is not where either of these teams hoped to be. Each of these teams was hoping to play on New Year’s Eve in the Semi Final game. Now, we must search for motivation and for a fundamental mismatch to uncover our winner. 

 

History
It was yet another injury plagued start to the season for a Notre Dame team who returned 17 starters from their 8-5 SU season of last, which concluded with a Bowl victory against LSU. The off season transfer of returning QB Golson, and several key offensive injuries early on slowed the offensive start to their season. In the first 2 weeks of the year, the Fighting Irish lost starting QB Zaire and RB Folston. Nonetheless, under 6th year HC Kelly, the Irish banded together for an outstanding 4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS start against outmanned opposition. QB Kizer 64% completions with a 19/9 ratio and RBs Prosise (6.6 YPR) and Adams (7.5 YPR) filled the void of the missing offensive starters. After a 2 point loss on a Saturday night ESPN Game Day at #1 Clemson on October 3rd, the Irish clawed their way back with six consecutive victories to be part of the National Title conversation. A season ending defeat at Stanford leaves them short of their goal. Credit a greatly improved Notre Dame defense, which went from allowing 29/404 last year to 29/362 this year, as much of a reason for their success. But they will be greatly challenged by an Ohio St. team who regained their swagger with their season closing victory.

When we last left the Buckeyes, they were doing us proud with a 6% (now 58-11 ATS) wire to wire winner in their season ending rivalry romp over outmanned Michigan. That came the week after the Buckeyes fell to Michigan St. as a 14 point home favorite by a count of 17-14. That left the Buckeyes widely criticized for their somnambulant season, which as defending National Champion saw them begin 10-0 SU, but just 4-6 ATS. Along the way, the Buckeyes endured a revolving door at the signal caller spot. For this contest, expect QB Barrett to get the starting nod with QB Jones (last year’s post-season hero) an able replacement. Combined with skilled position threats RB Elliott and RB/WR Miller, they possess outstanding talent. The season closing offensive outburst of 42 points against the solid Michigan defense proved those fears to be allayed. Shining like a beacon in the night was the Ohio St. stop unit that allowed just 14/304 and only 4.4 YP play.

 

Betting Analysis
Though neither of these teams is satisfied with their failure to make the Final Four, I believe that fourth year Ohio St. HC Meyer feels his Buckeyes have more to prove. Must give ample weight to the fact that Meyer is 9-2 SU ATS in Bowls, while counterpart Kelly is 2-5 ATS in post-season play. With plenty of time to prepare for each team, I favor Ohio St. with the superior defense and coaching to get this victory. Join me by putting the college football odds in your favor and line up with my college football picks on Ohio St. minus the points in their Fiesta Bowl victory.

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