The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are an interesting team right now. They are 3-0 but they haven’t been a dominant football team. All three games have been a little bit different but they haven’t looked like the force they need to be in order to have a playoff finish. Because of their non-conference status, they basically need to be undefeated to make the College Football Playoff.
They won their first game in overtime over a lowly Florida State team. In week two, they should have dominated the MAC’s Toledo but they won by a field goal. In week three, they looked a little better against Purdue as they won 27-13 but there are still some issues.
On Saturday, Notre Dame will be in Chicago to take on the Wisconsin Badgers at Soldier Field. This is a big game for the Irish as it will set the tone for a very difficult schedule this year. If they beat Wisconsin, which currently ranks 18, Notre Dame might be able to move up from their number 12 ranking. With number eight Cincinnati looming next week, it would be nice to go into that 4-0.
Notre Dame has its problems but it is a program that believes it can go undefeated every year. Beating Wisconsin would give them some confidence that they can beat good teams. Of course, a win is a win but they would love to blow Wisconsin out if they can. It doesn’t seem likely at this point but it’s why this game looms so large for the entire season.
The Irish are probably going to run the football a lot on Saturday. Wisconsin may as well so it is probably going to be a big part of the game as a whole. As a result, the team whose run defense shows up bigger could win the game. If either team can somehow establish a good game through the air, that may also be a big key to victory with everything going on in the run game.
Michael Mayer is a star player for the Irish. Getting him going in this game might be key as you should expect Jack Coan to target him a lot. Mayer only had one reception for five yards in last week’s win over Purdue so you know that may need to change. For Coan, he needs a big game to add this win for Notre Dame and the utilization of Mayer may be the key to that happening.
Both Notre Dame and Wisconsin need to win this game at Soldier Field on Saturday.
This is also huge for Wisconsin. They already have one loss to Penn State so they would love to add a ranked win to their resume. If they do that and run the table for the rest of the season, they would probably be right there near the top of the Big Ten for the College Football Playoff berth.
Both teams are good but haven’t shown what we may have thought they would going into the season. Each of them knows that the rest of their entire year could depend on this game in terms of their ability to qualify for the playoffs. As a result, expect a very good football game for this week’s ” College Gameday” game.