Week five of the 2015 college football season is a pivotal week for determining what teams will be contenders for the College Football Playoff and what teams are pretenders who will be relegated to lesser bowl games. Two teams that have high hopes of contending for the crown are the 6th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0) and the 12th ranked Clemson Tigers (3-0) of the ACC. They meet this Saturday evening at 8:00 pm ET at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, SC and the winner will have an inside track on a berth in the CFB playoff, while the loser will leave themselves little to no margin for error for the remainder of the regular season. The two teams will be the main attraction with the ESPN College Gameday crew visiting Clemson and a primetime game in the evening.
Notre Dame opened their season with 38-3 shellacking of Texas at home before a clutch, 34-27 comeback win over Virginia on the road and a 30-22 win over a then top-25 ranked Georgia Tech team at home in week three. DeShone Kizer has taken over under center for the Irish and led the comeback against Virginia. Running back C.J. Prosise has 600 yards rushing (8.1 YPC) and 6 TDs on the ground, and has emerged as a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate.
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Clemson opened their campaign with wins at home over Wofford (49-10) and Appalachian St. (41-10) before going on the road in week 3 and grinding out a tough 20-17 win over Louisville in a Thursday night game. The Tigers led the nation in total defense last season and are once again a top 10 unit ranking 9th in total defense with 261 YPG allowed, though depth has been a concern behind the front seven.
Notre Dame vs. Clemson Betting Odds:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +2
@Clemson Tigers -2
Over 50.5 (-110)
Under 50.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Notre Dame vs. Clemson Pick:
Notre Dame is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 October games, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against teams with a winning record and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Tigers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against teams with a winning record, 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The over is 5-0 in Notre Dame’s last 5 road games, 8-2 in their last 10 games overall and 7-2 in their last 9 games on grass. The under is 35-16 in Clemson’s last 51 October games, 7-1 in their last 11 games in Death Valley and 6-1 in their last 7 games overall.
The Fighting Irish have an outstanding record against the spread in recent play, after righting the ship in their bowl win over LSU after melting down at the end of the 2014 regular season. They have proven that they can rally under adverse conditions on the road, as they did against Virginia when their starting quarterback Malik Zaire was lost for the season with an ankle injury and Kizer threw a last-second TD pass to Will Fuller.
Prosise and Kizer appear to be gaining confidence with each game, and they will need to play well for ND to have a chance in this game. Clemson has one of the top statistical defenses in the country, but they have only played one power conference team, a 1-3 Louisville squad that they barely hung on to beat. The call here is that the Irish will rise to the occasion under the national spotlight, take Notre Dame and the points here.
PICK-Notre Dame +2