Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Boston College Eagles
Date and Time: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
Opening College Football Odds: Notre Dame -11.5
Notre Dame vs. Boston College TV Coverage: ESPN
Remember when Brandon Wimbush was supposed to be a fringy Heisman Trophy contender this year? That ship sailed in a hurry.
Wimbush might end up having all the talent on the face of the earth, and he might very well be a star in the not-distant future. But the fact of the matter is that he's been flat out bad in his first two games under center. Wimbush averaged 6.1 yards per pass attempt against Temple and was bailed out by the inferior competition. He then turned around and averaged 5.4 yards per throw against Georgia and completed just 48.7 percent of his passes.
That's not going to cut it at this level by any stretch of the imagination. Now, the Fighting Irish are looking down the barrel of another ugly season, especially if this game is lost. Michigan State, North Carolina, Miami and Stanford are all road games that are ahead, and USC and Navy coming to South Bend are no easy 'W's either.
But this Boston College team isn't any good either. The Eagles were fortunate to beat Northern Illinois in Week 1. Its fortunes weren't nearly as good against Wake Forest at home last week in a 34-10 loss.
The biggest decision Steve Addazio has to make is whether to stick with freshman Anthony Brown under center or go back to Darius Wade. Wade came in for Brown in relief after the frosh was picked off three times against Wake Forest. Wade wasn't much better, but at least he didn't turn the ball over.
In fairness to Brown, two of his three picks came off of balls that hit his receivers in the hands. But there isn't really an elite receiver on this roster, and that basically puts BC in a position where it has to run the ball to win the game.
Just one problem with that: Jon Hillman is averaging 2.5 yards per carry through two games.
30 – The number of third downs Notre Dame has already had to face on the young season.
Down and distance is so crucial for Notre Dame with Wimbush under center. He's got a big arm, but he also isn't the most accurate passer the team has ever had. The Fighting Irish went just 3-for-17 on third downs last week against Georgia, and that's thanks to a running game that carried the ball 37 times for 55 yards overall. Sure, sacks had a lot to do with that, but Josh Adams can't run the ball 19 times and only get 53 yards either, especially since virtually all of his work comes on first and second downs.
This BC defense is probably wholly underrated and is put into a lot of tough spots because of its awful offense. If the Fighting Irish can't capitalize on the chances that they do get, they're going to be in some trouble.
Notre Dame vs. Boston College Free Picks
The online sportsbooks all know that this is one of the tougher games to try to handicap in Week 3. The Fighting Irish seem to be ready to fall apart at the seams for a second straight season, and Boston College almost feels like it has to win games in the teens or low-20s.
We're still high on Wimbush even though he's coming off of a bad game. He won this job for a reason against some stiff competition in South Bend, and he'll pay it off eventually. That was a really good Georgia defense that Wimbush struggled against, and we suspect he'll at least be a little bit better in Chestnut Hill on Saturday afternoon.
College Football ATS Pick: Play Notre Dame at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Notre Dame 28, Boston College 14