Saturday night (8:00pm ET) action for week 9 of the 2012 college football season features an exciting non-conference match up with the 5th ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (7-0) traveling to Norman, OK to take on the 7th ranked Sooner of Oklahoma (5-1) out of the Big 12. ND is 4-3 ATS this season, but the Irish come into this contest on a two-game losing streak ATS having failed to cover an 11.5 point line in last week’s 17-14 squeaker at home over BYU, and the previous week as a 7.5 point favorite in a thrilling 20-13 home win over Stanford.Oklahoma is 4-2 ATS this season, and the Sooners are trending in the opposite direction of ND having covered three straight wins including a 52-7 demolition of Big 12 rival Kansas last week to easily cover a 34.5 point line.
The Notre Dame offense has been in flux all season long as Head Coach Brian Kelly has alternated at the quarterback position between red shirt freshman Everett Golson (968 yards passing, 4 TDs, 3 INTs) and Tommy Rees. Golson is expected back to start this game after sitting ut last week’s win over BYU with a concussion suffered late in the win over Stanford, which Rees finished up in overtime. Expect Rees to see action in this game as well, especially if Golson struggles early. The Irish rank 77th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 25.9 point per game and 73rd in total offense with 387.9 yards per game. The ND defense has been one of the top units in the country all season long, ranking 2nd in scoring defense with 9.4 PPG allowed and 6th in total defense with 280.7 YPG allowed.
Oklahoma has regained their explosiveness on offense from early last season, averaging 44.7 PPG (5th among FBS teams) and 488.2 YPG (17th among FBS teams). The Sooners have a dynamic passing game with QB Landry Jones (1,643 yards passing) and running game with tailback Damien Williams (552 yards rushing). The OU defense has also been tough against outstanding competition, ranking 12th in scoring defense with 15.3 PPG allowed and `5th in total defense with 301.7 YPG allowed.
Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +11.5
@ Oklahoma Sooners -11.5
Over 47.5 (-110)
Under 47.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma Pick:
Notre Dame has gone 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against winning teams and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games against teams with a winning home record. The Sooners are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 October games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The under is 5-1-1 in ND’s last 7 road games, 21-8-1 in their last 30 games overall and 22-6-1 in their last 29 games against winning teams. The under is 4-1 in OU’s last 5 non-conference games and 4-1 in their last 5 games on grass. The two teams have no recent meetings.
These two teams are both strong defensively, and the Sooners have the clear edge on offense with a wealth of playmakers in the passing game and the running game. The Irish defense will face their toughest test this season, and they should be up to the task of at least slowing down the Sooners. The strength of the ND offense has been their 38th ranked running game led by tailback Theo Riddick (451 yards rushing) and George Atkinson III (4TDs), and ND will need to run the ball effectively to keep OU’s offense off of the field. In their loss to K-State, Oklahoma gave up 213 yards rushing to the Wildcats and allowed them to control the ball for almost 35 minutes, ND will use a similar formula to at least keep this game close until the end. Expect a tight game, the total is a tough play here as the game could go into overtime and the Sooner offense is explosive, so the call here is to take ND and the points as this team is too strong on defense to be catching that many points against anyone.
PICK = Notre Dame +11.5