Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
Date and Time: Saturday, October 7, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Opening College Football Odds: Notre Dame -16.5
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina TV Coverage: ABC
The Fighting Irish are going to have to be really careful to not look past this game. It's easy to see more important games against USC, N.C. State and Miami on the horizon and forget that this game is one that could easily derail the entire season. The Tar Heels aren't as dangerous as Georgia was, but they're still capable.
That said, Notre Dame has looked like a bunch of world beaters in recent weeks by taking out Boston College, Michigan State and Miami-OH by 20+ points apiece.
The ground attack between Josh Adams, Brandon Wimbush and Dexter Williams is making the Golden Domers difficult to stop. These three men already have almost 1,300 rushing yards between them in just five games, and Adams and Williams are combining to average almost 10 yards per carry. The Fighting Irish already have four rushing plays this year that have covered at least 60 yards, and they haven't had that type of explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball in years.
The Tar Heels are really struggling in the post-Mitch Trubisky era. There's a good chance they're not even going to get to a bowl game this year, especially after getting clocked 33-7 last week at Bobby Dodd Stadium by Georgia Tech.
The Heels really haven't found their answer at quarterback yet, and their ground game hasn't picked up the slack at all. The Brandon Harris experiment was a disaster, and though freshman Chazz Surratt has been better and at least shown some promise, he isn't ready for a game anywhere near the likes of this one.
There's a reason why UNC's only win of this season has come against Old Dominion to date.
20 – The number of red zone touchdowns the Fighting Irish have scored this year, more than any team in America.
Kudos to the job that Brian Kelly has done with this offense. Notre Dame is one of the 12 teams in America to score on every red zone possession it has had this year, and nobody else is even close to the 20-for-22 rate the Irish have when it comes to scoring touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line.
Wimbush has been crucial to that with his legs, but he's successfully made a lot of touch throws in the corners of the end zone, too. Kelly has impressed upon his young quarterback that he doesn't have to force throws and can come back on later downs and make things happen with his athleticism, and that's exactly why this team has been brilliant inside the 20.
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina Free Picks
North Carolina's defensive stats are almost as ugly as its offense's stats. The team is allowing 14.2 yards per pass completion this year and 5.0 yards per rush. It's almost like the team is just setting itself up for whatever Notre Dame wants to do on offense.
The Adams/Wimbush combination isn't going to be stopped this week as we see it. These two men are set to rush for over 300 yards between them en route to a dominant victory by the Fighting Irish heading into their bye. None of the top online sportsbooks could have put up a reasonable number too big for us to bet on.
College Football ATS Pick: Notre Dame -16.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Notre Dame 38, North Carolina 13