Navy Midshipmen (0-0) vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0)
2023-08-26 14:30:00 EDT
The Line: Betting Odds: Notre Dame Fighting Irish -21 -- Over/Under: 50.5
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The Navy Midshipmen and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish meet in week 0 college football action from Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Can the Middies pull off a monumental upset? Or will Notre Dame have the Luck of the Irish in Dublin? Let’s dive in and find out.
Navy Goes In New Direction In 2023
The Navy Midshipmen changed course for the 2023 season, going with Brian Newberry as head coach, making this the first season since 2007 where Ken Niumatalolo was not the head coach of Navy. Niumatalolo had a pair of 11-win seasons with the Middies and 10 bowl appearances, but a combined 11 wins in the last three years including a 4-8 mark in 2022 was the final straw. The Middies will likely still be running the option offense as we’ve come to expect, but the addition of Grant Chesnut from Kennesaw State as offensive coordinator likely means we see a few new wrinkles and maybe a few more pass attempts per game than we normally see or maybe different run formations. Tai Lavatai and Xavier Arline will likely be the 1-2 punch under center for Navy, and Daba Fofana is back after leading the Midshipmen with 769 yards and 6 touchdowns. On defense, the Midshipmen lose John Marshall at linebacker, but Colin Ramos returns and Jacob Busic is also back in the front seven to create pressure off of the edge. The main strength of Navy’s defense will be the secondary, as it’s a veteran group with lots of experience led by Rayuan Lane and Mbiti Williams.
Notre Dame Looking To Build On Solid 2022 Season
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had a bit of a bumpy start to the Marcus Freeman era in South Bend, starting with a loss at Ohio State and then a massive upset loss to Marshall as well as a loss at home to Stanford, but still managed to finish at 8-4 on the year and ended up with a win over South Carolina in the Gator Bowl by a final score of 45-38. The quarterback situation undergoes a shakeup for the Irish, with Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne transferring out, but the Irish got one of the best pivots of the options in the transfer portal, bringing in former Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman, who has almost 13,000 career passing yards and 110 touchdown passes with 5 years of experience. Audric Estime is back in the backfield for Notre Dame after finishing with a team-high 920 yards and 11 touchdowns last season with almost 6 yards per carry. The receiving group takes a hit with the loss of top tight end Michael Mayer, but Jayden Thomas and Tobias Merriweather have the tools to be the top benefactors in the receiving corps after the addition of Hartman. Defensively, it’s a nice blend of transfers and returning talent, with JD Bertrand back at linebacker after putting up a team-high 82 tackles last season and Jack Kiser’s back after finishing 2nd with 58 total tackles. The pass rush will be solid as well, with Javontae Jean-Baptiste transferring in from Ohio State and the secondary has a stud sophomore in Benjamin Morrison who had 6 interceptions last year and has all-American written all over him. The safeties also get some solid help with Thomas Harper transferring in from Oklahoma State.
Navy is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall and 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games while the under is 13-5 in their last 18 neutral site games. Notre Dame is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games on grass and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games while the over is 7-0 in their last 7 games overall. The over is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings between these two teams.
I was originally looking at Notre Dame here, but as this line has moved, I’m inclined to take Navy here. The Irish are the more name-brand team here and going against the Irish in Dublin is tough, but I really think Navy’s new outlook on offense can help make the Middies tougher to prepare for, and the new clock rules can make it tough on teams like Notre Dame to cover big spreads, especially when the Irish are a run heavy team themselves. All in all I think Notre Dame wins comfortably, but by 17 points or so. Give me Navy and the points.