Notre Dame Early Double Digit Favorite Over Syracuse?!?

Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports

The turmoil and defensive ineptitude surrounding Notre Dame’s disastrous 1-3 start to the 2016 season hasn’t stopped Vegas from continuing to favor the Irish.  On the heels of a 38-35 loss to Duke, Notre Dame has opened up as a double digit favorite – by as many as 12 points – over Syracuse for this weekend’s game at Met Life Stadium outside of New York.

Notre Dame has been favored in every contest this season but the Irish sit at just 1-3.  On the road in Austin the Irish were a five point favorite and lost.  At home against Nevada the Irish the Irish were favored by 28 and covered the spread with a 39-10 victory.  A week later the Irish were a surprising touchdown favorite to Michigan State and fell by eight.  Last week Notre Dame was a 21 point favorite and lost in the biggest upset of the Irish in the last 20 years (1996 Air Force).

So of course the Irish opened as a 12 point favorite at many sports books.

Despite the firing of defensive coordinator Brian Vangorder though, it doesn’t look like there is much confidence in the Irish this weekend.  The line on this game has been dropping like a stone the last 24-36 hours and is already down to 10 – 10.5 points depending on which sports book you look at.

Count on that line to continue to fall throughout the week.  In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if it ended up closer to a touchdown by kickoff.

Vegas does look confident that there will be a lot of scoring.  The only two sports books I could find with an over/under for the game came in at 75!  That is tied for the highest over/under of the weekend with Oregon and Washington State. The over has has hit in five of the last six games Notre Dame has played.

Yes, there will be scoring.

How anyone could bet on Notre Dame right now is beyond me given the way the Irish have underperformed this season and the line dropping is evidence that not too many people are right now.  No doubt I think the Irish are capable of winning this weekend, but betting on the Irish after this defensive start?  I’ll pass.

Notre Dame has already replaced its defensive coordinator with a coach who was fired just last year from the same position at Purdue after three seasons of barely cracking the top 100 in total defense.  Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has more than hinted that personnel changes are coming this weekend as well.

All of those moving parts and all of that turmoil can serve as a rallying cry for Notre Dame or it could further tear this team apart depending on the job that the Notre Dame coaching staff does this week in practice.  This all has a very similar feel to when Charlie Weis went “back to training camp” in that ill-fated 2007 season when the Irish stumbled out of the games 0-3.

At that time, Weis talked about looking to find players who want to play very similarly to how Brian Kelly talked about his team lacking the fire and passion needed to play Notre Dame football.   That all came after a 38-0 beating at the hands of Michigan in the Big House.  The following week Notre Dame played better but still lost 31-14 at home to Michigan State.

We’ll find out how this Irish team responds in a few days.

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  1. In fairness, I don’t think it’s right to look at Hudson’s stats with Purdue. Not one of the kids on Purdue’s roster the last 3 years would make the practice squad at ND the last 3 years. Hudson will be a good transition between BVG and the next guy (pending performance for the remainder of the year). When Kelly stood at the podium yesterday and said they had 15 sub packages, no wonder the kids aren’t playing in position. They don’t know which way is up and have to think to much from the time the ball is snapped. Time to streamline the subbing, get the best kids out there to play ball, and have 4 or 5 helmets on the ball at all times. K.I.S.S. will get the D going again, and maybe they can save the season. Emphasis on tackling and single coverage this week would bode them well too.

  2. Pete Fiutak, College Football News: “Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is making in the neighborhood of $4 million a year and recently signed an extension through 2021, but he’s now 1-3 after an inexcusable loss to Duke at home. That means he’s going to lose three games or more for the fourth straight season and for the sixth time in his unremarkable seven-year tenure. While Ohio State managed to stay fantastic despite returning just six starters, and Alabama is No. 1 again after losing its entire offensive backfield and several key parts of a national champion, the Fighting Irish continue to fumble along in a hazy malaise of extreme over-averageness. And now, with that 1-3 start, Notre Dame is the worst possible thing of all – totally irrelevant for the rest of the 2016 college football season.”

  3. In true road games since 2012, (this week is at a ‘neutral site’ but still a lot closer to Syracuse than South Bend), ND is 0-10 when either the underdog or favored by less than a TD. That stat speaks volumes about recent ND teams not being ‘road warriors’ vs. formidable or comparable opponents, and their lack of success vs. good teams away from home with the game coming down to the final drives.
    (see: Groundhog Day-the movie, as Peter R would say).
    Fortunately, ND is a double-digit favorite, but the betting line is going down like whale shit.
    Syracuse, although improved, especially on offense, also has major problems on D’, giving up over 43 points per game their last three, and are especially pitiful against the run. NDs O’ needs to score early and often, like they should. Controlling the ball, which usually means controlling the LOS, will result in ND scoring big, with the final score probably looking like a Big 12 conference total. Being a pass-first team, Syracuse can’t be given time to sit back and play catch with their WRs. Kelly mentioned he spoke with Diaco after UConn gave up 31 to Syracuse last week, with their final winning drive going 99 yards. If NDs D’ can match UConn’s D’s numbers, ND should be able to score enough to cover the spread- but I’ll gladly take ND winning by any amount this week. This might be the most critical must-win for BK and staff in at least the last three years. 1-4, with back-to-back losses to Duke and Syracuse, and it’s time for BK and staff to update their resumes. It’s put up or begin to pack up, and get ready to move on.

  4. Right after the Dook Game ND was listed as a 10 point underdog vs The Orange on the road.

    Then Van Gordo got canned !


    The dollars…. always the dollars.

  5. True, you know I watch a lot of college football and love notre dame. As far as Brian Kelly goes I believe he has failed in 2 major areas. These 2 areas are in the hiring of some of his assistant coaches. Urban Meyer when hired at Ohio state said it is critical for a head coach to surround themselves with great assistants. Kelly needs to dump lyghtan d Scott Booker. He needs to let Sanford have complete control of the offense. Denbrock should coach al the receivers tight ends included. After the season add a great defense coordinator, gray special teams coach and a great db coach. Finally Kelly and his staff need to bring in great talent on the defensive side of the ball. Kelly has brought in great offensive talent.

  6. I have to agree, there are a lot of parallels to 2007, even in the statements they both make. This could be the beginning of the end of BK, unless he is somehow miraculously able to fundamentally change the team and his coaching style.

    The only difference between 2007 and now is they did manage to win a game, and the games have been in doubt at times up to the end (in 2007 it was over by halftime). But everything else is eerily the same.

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