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Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Ohio State Betting Preview

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish being ranked #5 in the preseason polls is a testament to their 11-2 record from 2021 but not a real reflection on how much this team needs to reboot with a new coach and a young QB.

The #2 Ohio State Buckeyes are prepared to show Notre Dame just how far away they are from the elite teams when the two clash on Saturday night in Columbus.

#2 Ohio State was 11-2 last year as well and won the Rose Bowl – and it was still considered a down year by their standards. They didn’t beat Michigan, and they didn’t win the national championship; therefore, the Buckeyes come back hungry in 2022, which is scary. #5 vs. #2 might not be as close as one would think, with OSU a -15.5 favorite.

Notre Dame Turns to Freeman

With former coach Brian Kelly off to LSU, it’s Marcus Freeman that takes over the reins of the Fighting Irish. The players love Freeman, and as defensive coordinator, he orchestrated a unit that finished 10th in the country allowing just 18.3 ppg last season, but he’s also never been a head coach. Notre Dame is arguably the most pressure-packed place to coach in the country, so can Freeman handle the bright lights?

Not only is Freeman inexperienced in his role, but so is the new Fighting Irish QB Tyler Buchner who is making his first collegiate start on a Saturday night at the Horseshoe against the #2 team in the country. Buchner did play in 10 games last season, but one reason Notre Dame was so good in 2021 was because they had senior Jack Coan under center.

Of course, this is still Notre Dame, and they’ve got plenty of pro prospects on both sides of the ball. Buchner has an NFL-caliber TE to throw to in Michael Mayer (71 rec, 840 yards, 7 TD last year), and the defense is full of potential 1st round picks led by Isaiah Foskey, who can pressure the QB, and Brandon Joseph, who can make plays in the secondary.

Stroud Heisman Campaign Starts Now

C.J. Stroud is not just playing the opponent every week in 2022; he’s also trying to outduel Alabama’s Bryce Young each game, as the two are the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy. Stroud finished fourth in Heisman voting last season despite throwing for 4,435 yards and 44 TD against just six interceptions.

Stroud lost two of his biggest weapons with Chris Olave (936 yards, 13 TD) and Garrett Wilson (1,058 yards, 12 TD), both first-round picks in last Spring’s NFL draft. For some reason, OSU might be alright at the position, as sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the best of the bunch with 95 catches and 1,606 yards in 2021, and he’ll get even more targets this year.

Fighting Irish at Buckeyes Pick and Prediction

The Buckeyes’ offense is going to do their thing week in and week out, but the main reason many people think OSU can challenge Alabama for a National Championship is because of what coach Ryan Day hopes is an improved defense. Ohio State was able to lure defensive coordinator Jim Knowles away from Oklahoma State, where he produced the #3 total defense in the country last year.

It’s going to be hard for Notre Dame to produce much offense against Knowles’ confusing defenses with Buchner in his first collegiate start. Even if the Notre Dame defense has some success against the Buckeyes offense, OSU keeps chipping and chipping, and eventually, they’ll break this one open.

Pick: Ohio State -15.5

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