An important game between ranked teams takes place Saturday as the Oklahoma Sooners travel to South Bend, Indiana to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The start time is 3:30 pm (Eastern) and the game will be televised on NBC. Current Odds have Oklahoma listed as 3.5 point favorites, while the total sits at 48.5.
Analysis: The Oklahoma Sooners come into this game with revenge on their minds after Notre Dame handed them a 30-13 beat down in their own stadium last year. The Irish just dominated them in every facet of that game, but this year could be a different story as the Sooners are an improved team over last years squad, especially on the defensive side, where they are allowing just 291.3 ypg, which is 107 ypg less than they allowed last year. The Sooners are 5th in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 9 ppg, which is 16 ppg less than last year. A very improved defense. The Offense now looks like it in the hands of Blake Bell, who threw for 413 yards and 4 TD's last week vs Tulsa. Overall the Sooners are a very balanced offense, averaging 217.8 ypg passing and 271.3 ypg on the ground. The ground game has a potent one-two punch in the form of Brennan Clay (5.8 ypc, 87.3 ypg, two TDs) and Damien Williams (4.4 ypc, 80.5 ypg).
Notre Dame is not undefeated like the last time these teams met, but they are off to a nice 3 and 1 start after taking care of Purdue and Michigan State in the last 2 weeks. Notre Dame lost allot of talent from last year's squad, but this is still a very good team, led by a very good coach and an improving QB. Tommy Rees has had a nice year so far, throwing for 1111 yards, with 8 TD's and just 2 INTs and he last hasn't been making the crucial mistakes that could cost his team some games. His top two targets have been TJ Jones (21 catches, 304 yards, two TDs) and DaVaris Daniels (20 catches, 305 yards, four TDs). The rushing attack has struggled at times and is currently netting a modest 114.2 yards per game. The running game is led by tailbacks Cam McDaniel (3.8 ypc), Amir Carlisle (4.8 ypc) and George Atkinson III (5.0 ypc). The defense was a big reason the Irish got to the title game last year, but they have stuggled some this year, ranking 41st overall and 41st in points allowed (21 ppg). With last year's road win, Notre Dame has now won eight of the nine total meetings between these two teams.
Pick: The Irish defense looks like it may finally be getting it's footing, while the Oklahoma defense is already on solid ground, so I will look to the under in this one. This has the feel of a hard fought battle like last week's Notre Dame/ Michigan State game that had a final of 17-13. The Irish don't have as tough a defense as last year, o I expect them to be very conservative on offense here. The Sooners put up some big numbers vs two of their squads (UL Monroe & Tulsa), but this will still be by far the best defense they have faced. I look for a defensive battle here.
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