Weather Could Impact Notre Dame-Clemson Score, Pay 'Under' as the Smart College Football Pick

Willie Bee

Thursday, October 1, 2015 12:34 PM GMT

This week's prime-time event on the college football betting card has Notre Dame traveling south to Clemson to take on a Tigers team that has had two weeks to prepare for the Irish.

The next two weeks will go a long way to defining the 2015 season for the No. 12 Clemson Tigers, as well as the national playoff picture, and you can bet Dabo Swinney has been using his extra time the past couple of weeks to prepare for his team's next two opponents.

Up first are the No. 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish who come to Memorial Stadium for a one of five games this Saturday pitting ranked teams against each other.  ABC will broadcast the tilt beginning at 8 PM (ET). The Tigers originally opened as 2 point chalk but that spread is now a pick 'em at Bookmaker, with some shops listing the Irish as 1 point favorites. The total went out at 53, but there has been some early movement up on the College Football Odds to 54½.

Their current ACC connection has the Tigers and Irish meeting often on the hardwood, but it's just the third time the two schools have met on a gridiron. The rosters have turned over a doze times or so since the teams got together on a home-&-home series in 1977 and 1979, each club pulling off road victories in low-scoring affairs.

As part of the agreement to join the ACC in basketball, ND is adding more teams from the conference to its football schedule. The Irish are 5-2 vs. ACC clubs the last 2+ seasons, both defeats on the road at Pittsburgh and Florida State, and have three more ACC teams after this one, all in November with a trip to Pitt and home games vs. Wake Forest and Boston College.

 

Irish Limp Into Clemson With Backup QB
Notre Dame (4-0 straight up, 3-1 against the spread) survived a couple of close ones against ACC teams already, on the road at Virginia and home against Georgia Tech, Clemson's next opponent. Both the Cavaliers and Yellow Jackets have since been soundly defeated, meaning the Fighting Irish could really use a victory this week to gain momentum towards a possible undefeated campaign and the College Football Playoff invite that would surely come.

It wouldn't be easy to take down Clemson on its home turf if the Irish were healthy, and Brian Kelly's team is far from healthy. They lost starting quarterback Malik Zaire in the win over Virginia, the junior out for the season with a fractured ankle, also losing starting tight end Durham Smythe in the same game to a shoulder injury. Both injuries came after losing tailback Tarean Folston to a knee injury in the season opener vs. Texas.

Sophomore DeShone Kizer stepped in under center for Zaire to lead Notre Dame to the win against the Cavaliers, and got his first two collegiate starts in the victories over Georgia Tech and Massachusetts a week ago. Those games were in South Bend, however, and facing a defense like Clemson's in front of a crowd of Tigers fans will be a different story.

 

Tiger Defense Once Again Near Top Of Charts
Clemson (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) hasn't been hit as hard as the Irish on the injury front, but the Tigers do have a couple of starters out for this matchup. They lost one of their top receivers, Mike Williams, to a neck injury in the season opener, and center Ryan Norton is questionable with a knee injury he suffered in that same contest against Wooford.

The Tigers have had a couple of weeks to prepare for this game, their first real test of the year. It will especially be a test for the defense that is once again near the top of the nation in several key categories after leading the country in total defense a year ago. After letting Appalachian State roll up more than 200 yards on the ground in Week 2, Clemson held Louisville to just 19 yards rushing two weeks ago.

All bettors will want to keep their eyes on the latest weather forecast with rain all but guaranteed thanks to Hurricane Joaquin. I'm liking the 'under' for my free college football pick.

My College Football Pick: Notre Dame-Clemson Under 54½ at Bookmaker

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