Staff Picks: Michigan St. @ Notre Dame

Someone knock on wood: Irish Illustrated staff in agreement this week picking Notre Dame over rival Spartans.

To access Tim Prister’s official game preview, click here:

Pete Sampson

This feels like a rebuilding year of sorts for Michigan State while Notre Dame has an NFL-caliber quarterback. Yes, that quarterback edge wasn’t enough to get the Irish past the Longhorns, but that required a meltdown by Brian VanGorder’s defense. That’s unlikely to happen against the Spartans, which don’t play at tempo don’t get too creative in the passing game. Basically, this is a good matchup for Notre Dame on multiple levels, including the primetime atmosphere at home.

The Irish get their season back on track against a good but far from great Spartans team.

Notre Dame 34 Michigan State 23
2016 Predictions: 1-1

Tim O’Malley

It’s a bit troubling that everyone at Irish Illustrated is picking Notre Dame in what should be considered a toss-up matchup. And in retrospect, I think we’ve undervalued the rock solid program that is Michigan State, both in our podcast this week and predictions/conversations.

But I’ve liked Notre Dame in this particular spot since the outset of fall camp and none of the weaknesses I’ve seen present in the Irish since have changed that opinion. (Nor does the oddity of a point spread in excess of a touchdown.)

Look for the game to come down to the final two possessions and for Notre Dame to pull it out at home with a crucial defensive stop and the clutch play of DeShone Kizer.

Notre Dame 34 Michigan State 27
2016 Predictions: 1-1

Jack Freeman

The Spartans took care of business with a week one victory over hapless Furman but they did not dispel the notion they could be in a rebuilding year. Some might say they didn’t want to show Notre Dame anything or they played down to the level of the opponent, but it’s clear the Spartans will need a much, much better performance to take down Notre Dame.

As for the Irish it feels like they will go as far as DeShone Kizer’s talented arm can take them. You can’t rely on the Irish defense at this point of the season even though a return to basics approach appears to be a good fit for this group.

In Kizer we trust.

Notre Dame 31 Michigan State 24
2016 Predictions: 1-1

Steve Hare

Notre Dame's defense played much better in Week 2 than it had in Week One but that probably had something to do with the step down in competition.

Michigan State's offense put up just 28 points against Furman but Tyler O'Connor and L.J. Scott could give the Irish fits on Saturday. Look for another high scoring affair. Notre Dame's offense should be able to put some points on the board and the Irish will need them to hold off the Spartans.

Notre Dame 34 Michigan State 30
2016 Predictions: 1-1

Anna Hickey

Michigan State is ranked six spots higher than Notre Dame in the AP Poll, but the Irish are favored by more than a touchdown on Saturday night. Home field advantage doesn’t usually equate to more than a couple of points, so Vegas is either higher on the Irish or lower on the Spartans than most.

We don’t know much about Sparty after seeing them in action in just one game vs. Furman. And now they’ve got to play a primetime game on the road vs. DeShone Kizer? On the merits of not knowing what Michigan State has in its quarterback – and I don’t think we’ll get a Shane Buechele-esque coming out party – I don’t think Notre Dame’s defense loses the game.

In other words, points will be scored on both ends, but in the end, Michigan State doesn’t have the firepower to keep up on the scoreboard. I will take the Irish and give the points.

Notre Dame 34 Michigan State 26
2016 Predictions: 1-1

Jake Brown

There's plenty we don't know about this matchup, particularly with Michigan State. One grinder of a win over Furman doesn't reveal much. That being said, I'm not expecting an instant classic. Notre Dame will do enough to win as the Spartans throw their physicality around. There's too much talent for the Irish on offense, especially with Torii Hunter Jr. back in the mix.

But I'll still take the points. 

Notre Dame 27 Michigan State 21
2016 Predictions: 1-1 Top Stories