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Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview: Start Time, Spread, Free Pick

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CFB Saturday and we will see the Wake Forest Demon Deacons travel to South Bend, Indiana to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The game is scheduled for a 3:30 PM (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on NBC. Currently the odds for the game have Notre Dame favored by 24 points, while the total sits at 42.5. Check out Sportsbook Spy to find out what side the Public is taking on all today's games.

Free Analysis: Jim Grobe's Demon Deacons have no national title aspirations, but they are still in the hunt to become bowl eligible. At 5-5 overall, a sixth win would make Wake Forest bowl eligible for the fifth time in the last seven years. The team's first bid at that elusive sixth victory has come and gone with last weekend's 37-6 lopsided loss at NC State. The Demon Deacons have been wildly inconsistent on the offensive side of the football this year and come into this contest after managing a mere 185 yards of total offense against the Wolfpack. That certainly isn't something to feel good about heading into South Bend against one of the most dominant defenses in the country. On the season, the numbers have been mediocre at best, with the team averaging just 309.7 yards of total offense. Quarterback Tanner Price has struggled this season, connecting on just 55.4 percent of his throws, for 1,965 yards, with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. The team's top offensive threat, wideout Mike Campanaro, has flourished despite missing time with an injury and having to deal with inconsistent offensive play. He leads the team in receptions (65), receiving yards (618) and TD catches (6). Much like the offense, the Wake Forest defense has been vastly uninspiring. The Demon Deacons are yielding just under 30 points per game (28.9), while allowing 417.8 yards per game. Linebacker Justin Jackson leads the team in tackles (75), TFLs (8.5) and is tied with defensive end Zach Thompson (48 tackles) for the team lead in sacks (4).

The Irish knocked off Boston College in Chestnut Hill last weekend, 21-6 to move to 10-0 on the year. It marks the eighth time the team has started a season with 10 straight wins. Five of those campaigns ended in a national title. Still, sitting at third in the BCS rankings, the general thinking is that Brian Kelly's team will need some help to earn one of the two spots in Miami on January 7th. Young quarterback Everett Golson has shown flashes of brilliant play, but does seem to be getting better with each game. He has completed 58 percent of his passes, for 1,572 yards, with eight TDs against four INTs. The Irish do call on veteran QB Tommy Rees and he has also aided in a couple of wins. Still, this is an offense predicated on the run and Notre Dame does that quite effectively, averaging almost 200 yards per game (198.7). Instead of using a workhorse in the backfield, the Irish have employed several rushers. Theo Riddick (714 yards, 4.6 ypc, four TDs), Cierre Wood (570 yards, 6.3 ypc, three TDs), George Atkinson III (312 yards, 7.4 ypc, four TDs) and Golson (258 yards, five TDs) have all made sizeable contributions on the ground. Make no mistake about it, Notre Dame's success has been the result of stingy defensive play. One of the top units in the country, Notre Dame is allowing a meager 11.1 ppg (second nationally), while showing equal disdain for the run (sixth nationally at 95.9 ypg) and the pass (24th nationally at 199.3 ypg). There are a number of playmakers on the Notre Dame defense, but the undeniable leader is two-time All-American Manti Te'o. The senior middle linebacker has had an incredible season thus far, posting a team-high 92 tackles, with 5.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, six interceptions and two fumble recoveries. 

Free Pick: I will look to the Irish in this one. Notre Dame does have USC on deck, but they have not looked all that sharp in their last 2 games and will be wanting to head into the USC game playing well. The Irish have one of the best defenses in the nation and should easily shut down this Wake offense that averages just 309 ypg and 20.1 ppg on the year. Not nearly enough offense vs this defense. The Irish would like to see more from their offense before the USC game and I expect them to open it up a bit and put plenty of points on this Wake defense that has allowed 417.8 ypg and 28.9 ppg on the year. This is the Irish’s last home game and they will look to send their seniors off with a dominating win.  

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