CRIPPLE FIGHT 2008

Submitted by Brian on September 8th, 2008 at 2:07 PM

cripple-fight___

Oh, it’s on, Notre Dame. It’s on.

The line. After the Utah game there were reports that the line for the Notre Dame game was as high as ND –8.5, but in the aftermath of Michigan’s DOMINATION last week there’s been a seismic shift. Diarist Jamiemac has the lowdown:

At Carib Sports--the only place where I am registered that I could find where you could bet tonight on Saturday's game--UM is -1. Lets think about this line:

Summer line: ND -3.5

Adjusted line after Week 1: ND -8.5

Actual line of Game Week: UM -1

I have not seen such a turnaround before. Surprisingly (or not so when you really think about it), most of those summer lines stay true to form.....its scary how accurate those are to the actual line months in advance.....anyway, yeah, you'll see a 1 or 2 point swing over the course of the season, but this line movement is unreal. A five point swing after the first week of games. Then, a 9.5 point swing in the other direction after the 2008 ND team unveiled itself.

hippogriff3gf

Covers.com has one Michigan –2.5 and holding, a whole host of pick-ems, and a couple sites that opened with Michigan about a three-point favorite and have now moved to ND –1. The over-under is not available, for obvious reasons.

I’m with the bookies on this one: nothing short of Notre Dame starting a hippogriff at linebacker would surprise me. Notre Dame by twenty? Michigan by 38? A zero-zero tie finally broken in the sixth overtime after seven Notre Dame holding penalties and a Jimmah Clausen sack result in a safety? All equally plausible.

Well, no, I have a hard time envisioning Michigan putting up 38 points on Cal Poly. That is less plausible.

The reason for the jump was obvious to everyone who didn’t run from the room screaming during the San Diego State-Notre Dame game.Notre Dame was about a millimeter away from going down 20-7, and that would have been 20-0 if not for some incredible clock malfeasance by Chuck Long at the end of the first half.

San Diego State’s relative performances against a I-AA team and Notre Dame give cause for hope:

Opp Yards Gained YPA YPC Yards Allowed YPA YPC
Cal Poly SLO 306 10.5 3.6 284 6.2 4.0
Notre Dame 345 4.6 4.7 342 7.0 3.1

It’s worth noting that SDSU had a week to-week offensive inversion, throwing 59 times and running 15 times against ND; the week before they ran 41 times and threw 15.

Blue-Gray Sky was not particularly impressed:

While Duke and Stanford's 2007 defenses were hardly worldbeaters, they were probably better than the San Diego State defense that gave up over 200 yards rushing to a 1-AA team. Yet, with largely the same personnel, Notre Dame's rushing offense was significantly less effective against SDSU than it had been against Duke and Stanford. In the final two games of 2007, the Irish running backs averaged 5.7 yard per carry against Duke and 5.1 against Stanford. Against SDSU, the Irish backs averaged a meager 3.4 yards per carry. Perhaps even more telling than the statistics was the play-calling. On each of their first three drives, the Irish offense faced a third-and-short situation (3rd and 2, 3rd and 3, then 3rd and 2 again). Each time, the call was a pass. It's hard to reconcile that play-calling with a commitment to "pounding" the ball.

Welcome to the club. Actually, I think you should be welcoming us to the club.

The bothersome thing. Okay, I watched the San Diego State game. During this game, a performance in which Notre Dame nearly lost to one of the worst teams in Division I-A, I was repeatedly wistful because Notre Dame’s quarterback completed passes downfield. What sort of pass? Any sort of pass. I miss John Navarre 2001. I miss John Navarre 2000. I miss Ryan Mallett.

Comments

Six Zero

September 8th, 2008 at 3:27 PM ^

Some of those Threet-to-Tacopants throws will sail way off the field onto Notre Dame's sideline, where at least 3-6 of them will have a realistic shot of bouncing off of Charlie Weis' considerable stomach and returning to the field of play.  I mean really, he's THAT big.  Stonum and Hemingway may not be able to catch the Threet pass initially, but if they can snag the rebound from the Buddha Weis it could be 21-7 by halftime.

That is, unless the balls get stuck in there.

imafreak1

September 8th, 2008 at 3:40 PM ^

There is reason to believe the Michigan defense will be the best unit on the field. Hopefully, this will preclude a non-fluke filled ND blow out.

Based on the evidence, I find it implausible that ND will have much success running. The more they try the better for Michigan. One can be hopeful that Clausen will be hounded by Michgan's defensive line. The fact the Miami's QB who was so giving the previous week didn't give the ball away to Michigan is slightly troubling. Clausen also likes to give the ball away.

Cannibal6

September 8th, 2008 at 5:08 PM ^

1.  Chaz weis is going to stack the line against the run and force us to pass.  Because of our inexperienced line and inability to run up the middle, chaz will try to force us into the least preferred part of our game, i.e., the pass.

2.  Chaz will craft his passing offense to try to take advantage of Stevie Brown/middle dump-off LB pass coverage.  Our corners are going to be much better (arguably) than Man Diego St.'s, so the weakness is in the short checkdown that our LBs are having a tough time with, as well as anything where Brown would be involved.

3.  N(d)BC will make 36 references to Jimmah's arm-strength and how he's the 2nd coming of Joe Montana.  I'm hoping he actually turns out to be the 2nd coming of Rick Mirer.  BTW, I'm not sure how much more annoying the N(d)BC announcers can get.

4.  Jimmah's hair-line will recede another half-inch, and when it gets wet, we can see another 10 square inches of scalp.  Not that I'm wishing hair-loss on anyone, but dude, you can't fight heredity.  Shave that shit brah.  It'll help w/ the underage beer-pong as well.

5.  Hometown refs will call at least 3 phantom pass intereferences against us, and at least an equal number of phantom holds against us if/when we complete a pass.  Also, any instance where a play should be reviewed will probably not be.

6.  The scene in the stands can be be summed up in 2 words.  Paste-y.  Cottage-cheese (I realize I hyphenated that 2nd one).  A friend of mine is a domer, he refers to s. bend as Ice Planet Hoth.  I guess he means that if you're stranded alone, the only use for the girls there is to slit their bellies so that you can stay warm in their entrails until help arrives.

It's going to be ugly on the field and off.