The College Football Playoff rankings currently have Notre Dame as one of the top four teams in all of college football. This week they face perhaps their toughest test of the season, as they take on the Syracuse Orange at Yankee Stadium. Given the Yankees’ lack of postseason success, the game’s location could be a bad omen for the Irish against a Syracuse team that is tough enough as it is.
Notre Dame is a 10.5-point favorite going into this one at BetOnline as they look to keep themselves in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings.
Syracuse has the number seven scoring offense in the country at 44.4 points per game. They have put up 40 points or more in seven of their 10 games so far this season. In those seven games, they are 7-0, so look for 40 to be a magic number in this game.
The Orange are 14th in the country in total offense, moving the ball to the tune of 482 yards per game. They are 36th in the nation in passing offense, putting up 266.1 yards per game through the air. Eric Dungey is a huge reason for their effectiveness on offense, as the Syracuse signal caller would be a Heisman Trophy candidate if not for Tua Tagovailoa being so much better than the rest of the country that the Heisman race is just a formality at this point.
Syracuse is 27th in rushing, averaging 216.1 yards per game on the ground. Dungey and Moe Neal have over 1,400 yards between the two of them this season, with Dungey just 26 yards behind Neal for the team lead this season. Notre Dame will have to watch out for both the running back and quarterback on the ground as a result.
Dino Babers’ team is tied for 70th in the country in scoring defense, giving up 27.6 points per game. They are 97th in total defense, giving up 430 yards per game. They proved against Clemson that their defense can keep them in a game against a top-tier opponent, and they’ll need to replicate that performance, otherwise the Orange will be seeing red in this game.
Syracuse doesn’t have a shot at the ACC title game, as they sit two games behind Clemson with two games to play with Clemson having the head-to-head tiebreaker. However, this is a great chance for the Orange to make a claim to a New Year’s Six at-large bid, while spoiling Notre Dame’s playoff hopes. With the game being in New York, they should have decent fan support system in attendance as well.
Notre Dame Week 12 Analysis
Notre Dame has the 31st ranked scoring offense in college football at 34.5 points per game. In a bit of good news for the Irish, or the luck of the Irish, it looks like starting quarterback Ian Book will be available for the team again after sitting out their win over Florida State with a rib injury.
The Irish are 27th in total offense, putting up 454 yards per game. They have the 42nd ranked rushing attack in the country, averaging 199.4 yards per game. Dexter Williams is their lead back, averaging 6.8 yards per carry on the season on his 113 attempts on the ground. He’ll be vital when it comes to keeping the ball away from the powerful Syracuse offense.
The aforementioned Book leads the 46th ranked passing offense in the nation, moving the ball to the tune of 254.3 yards per game through the air. Book has completed nearly 75% of his passes on the season, with 15 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
Notre Dame comes in ranked 25th in total defense, allowing 330 yards per game and 15th ranked scoring defense at 18.7 points per game. Those are quality rankings, but Syracuse is the toughest offense that the Notre Dame defense will have to deal with this season. The Irish could be susceptible to giving up big plays in this game.
There is a lot of pressure on Notre Dame to win out, and this is the toughest game left on their schedule. If Notre Dame can win this game, they should be able to get by USC in their season finale and make the College Football Playoff, despite not having a conference championship game (or a conference at all). It will be interesting to see how the Irish play early in this game with that pressure in the back of their collective minds.
Syracuse vs Notre Dame Trends
Syracuse comes into this game at 8-2 straight up on the season and 7-2 against the spread. In their last five non-conference games, Syracuse is 4-0-1 against the spread, although non-conference games for Power 5 teams are usually easier than neutral site games against Notre Dame. Syracuse is 7-2-1 against the spread in their last 10 games, 9-3 against the spread in their last 12 games against teams with winning records, and 5-2 against the spread in neutral site games.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, comes into this game at 10-0 straight up on the season and 6-3-1 against the spread. They are 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven games, 4-1 against the spread in their last five neutral site games, and 3-0-1 against the spread in their last four games against teams with winning records.
Both teams have plenty of trend momentum going into this game, so something has to give on that end.
Notre Dame is so close to the College Football Playoff, but they should be in for a really tough game here against the Syracuse Orange.
Expect the Irish defense to struggle early in the game against the most dynamic offense it has played all season, which should help Syracuse hang around in this game long enough for the pressure to build on Notre Dame.