Site Predictions

Our weekly staff, moderators, and guest selector choices for Saturday's matchup vs. the Michigan State Spartans.

Tim O'Malley – Managing Editor

Enough is enough. Last week I was unsure the Irish could find a way to win. They did…then found another way, an impossibly painful way, to lose to their rivals from the north. It's been a too-familiar theme over the last three, five, 15 years; and more important, over the last 15 games.

Brian Kelly is 8-7 at Notre Dame. Five of those losses suffered in head-shaking fashion. Notre Dame's best pre-November effort last season occurred in East Lansing when the Irish racked up a season-best 369 passing yards vs. the Spartans, limited Michigan State to minus 6 rushing yards in the fourth quarter and overtime, and yet, thanks to three turnovers and an incredible play-call from the opposing coach, found away to lose again.

For the second time in the Kelly era (USC was the first), his Irish will instead find a way to win a true nip-and-tuck battle: Notre Dame 33 Michigan State 27

(Full prediction column forthcoming).

Brian Dohn – Northeast/ Recruiting

It isn't so much about Xs and Os as it is psyche for Notre Dame. Two crushing defeats in which the Irish imploded – via turnovers against South Florida and a defensive meltdown at Michigan – already has the Irish season on the brink of peril. This is a huge game for Notre Dame's season, but so far the Irish have not performed well under pressure. It could change, but until it does, picking the Irish isn't an option.
Michigan State 27 Notre Dame 20

Christian Zavisca (Staff Writer)

I am not a wild-eyed optimist. In conversation, I have no problem saying that when it comes to on-field success in recent years, Notre Dame football is guilty until proven innocent.

I do believe, however, that the Irish are a better team than they've showed the first two weeks. I don't believe they will play with any less enthusiasm or desire.

Michigan State has built a very solid program. The Spartans are nothing to sneeze at. I think it will be a tight game, and I think a few things will bounce Notre Dame's way.
Notre Dame 30 Michigan State 28

Morrissey79 (Moderator)

Can Notre Dame's tendency to turn the ball over continue another week? They certainly will be playing an aggressive and tough defense that is coming off of holding FAU to one first down the entire game.

But MSU hasn't played near the speed or talent ND has, so it may take them a bit to become adjusted when visiting ND.

The last time the Spartans visited south bend, nd escaped with the victory. MSU has been very underwhelming under Dantonio on the road, going 10-9 in his tenure, including 1-6 vs. ranked opponents – they were putrid last year getting blown out twice.

ND cannot start 0-3; Vegas has the early line at -5.5. I just don't see how ND can continue its carelessness with the football, plus MSU is a better matchup for NDs defensive personnel.
ND 28 MSU17

SeattleNDFan (Moderator)

The good news is that Notre Dame is arguably the most dangerous 0-2 team in college football. The bad news is that Michigan State is in my opinion the strongest overall team we will face this year.

Coach Mark Dantonio runs a pro style offense based on a power running game setting up play action passing, but if they base their game plan on last week's films, they should probably abandon that and just chuck the ball downfield every play, because ND really matches up pretty well against their running game, which hinges on three new OL starters.

MSU has the tight ends to exploit our short zone pass defense as well, so we will likely see a pattern of stuffed runs followed by third down conversions to their tight ends and running backs all afternoon. The X factor here is that this is an offense Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch could be unleashed against, as QB Kirk Cousins does not have the mobility to make them pay for youthful aggressiveness/over-pursuit.

When ND is on offense there is no reason to expect the team not to be able to move the ball on the Spartans, but by now the book on ND has to be to go ahead and allow them to chug up and down the field and just wait for the red zone turnover, which is pretty much already the way Dantonio plays defense.

Coach Kelly and the Fighting Irish have a golden opportunity to turn the season completely around simply by playing up to their potential and eliminating the silly, silly turnovers, because they have the talent to beat any team on the schedule including Michigan State. If they can do so, and sustain that momentum, they really could run the table the rest of the way.

BUT...five more turnovers against this Michigan State team will not result in another last second loss, it will result in a Spartan blowout. Having said that, I am more than willing to sacrifice the accuracy of my predictions to the football gods if that generates any good karma, so I hope fervently this game prediction is proven wrong.
Michigan State 35 Notre Dame 20

BNolan (Moderator)

We won't win the BCS, but we are winning the TCS. Turnover Championship Series. We have the dubious honor of being dead last in turnover margin in collegiate football, and our record obviously reflects it.

Until this staff, and their team, displays to me the ability to play fundamental football, that they know how to win (and want to win), I won't hand them my confidence again and consequently I just can't/won't predict and Irish win.

Without endless debate and playing the fruitless 'woulda-shoulda-coulda' game, we should be 2-0. But 'should be', like 'potential', sounds nice but isn't reflected in the win/loss column. Glaring mistakes by both coaches and players and... here we are.

Frustrated and embarrassed again.

Kelly is in danger of falling to 8-8 as the Irish head coach. Almost winless in the month of September. Not good.

Can they beat a good MSU team? Yes, they can. MSU is good but not great. (Kind of like I thought ND would be).

They have turned the ball over one time, period. We have turned it over more than one time per quarter.

Can we play tough, disciplined football? I'll believe it when I see it.
Until then: MSU 27 ND 17

Weisass (Moderator)

In year two of Brian Kelley I expected this team to be a national contender. With the play witnessed over the last two games, I can only hope we can finish among the top of the independents. I didn't have a chance to watch the Michigan game live as I was preparing my deer lease but believe me: I was glued to the updates refreshing on my iPhone. Glancing at it every 2 minutes I was really excited that I had set my DVR at home to watch the blow out in the making.

As I finished my day's work and sat down for yet another cold beer, I hit refresh on my phone only to see Michigan scoring what seemed to be at will against ND. Being blind to what was really going on I was shocked to see ND behind and blowing such a sizeable lead. I kept hitting refresh hoping that there was something wrong with the down load. Realizing that ND just gave up the game in the last few minutes of the game I turned off the game cast and starting shaking my head in disgust.

My wife knew not to venture in to conversation with me. I picked up my phone, chugged my beer and said, I'm going to bed. Right when I got to my RV a friend of mine called and said, "Can you believe this?" He suggested deleting from my DVR – without watching it. So I did….never watching a single snap.

I really had high hopes for this team and as a faithful Irish fan, I'm really hoping this team can salvage the rest of the season. Now that we are in the meat and potatoes of our schedule I'm seriously worried. Michigan State was the game I was worried about more then any of them on our schedule. (USF and Michigan were not) I hate going against the Irish but I have to face reality.
MSU 36 ND 21

GaviND (Moderator)

Editor's Note: In a brief email exchange, GaviND offered that he's too angry to speak - or apparently type. MSU 28 ND 27

1988champs (Guest Selector)

It'll be like Utah 2010 all over again. MSU will score more than 3, of course, but the Irish will come out smoking and unlike last week, never let up. Look for another ‘buck fifty from Floyd, another 300+ with a couple of picks from Tommy Rees, and finally, FINALLY – a pass rush from the defense.

Big bounce back win but we're not out of the woods yet – I don't have faith that they won't blow another…this month.
ND 33 MSU 17 Top Stories