I'll admit that I cheat a bit when I make my predictions. I might sneak over to the message boards of the opposing team to get the overall feel of their team. A walk through "Huskyland" isn't pretty right now. A number of Husky fans were discussing a two-win season. It reminds me of the Irish boards after losing to BYU.
Most of the Huskies have already written this game off. I saw one post where a guy said their only chance depended on the Irish coaches screwing up because he was sure their coaching staff would screw up.
But fans are passionate, and one can't make rational decisions on passionate thinking. Nobody thought the Irish would beat Michigan and they did.
This Husky team does have talent, no question. They have some skill players that can make life miserable for a defense. However, their defense is what is suspect, and points and long drives can really take the heart out of a team.
The Bruins rushed for almost 400 yards against this Husky defense. The Huskies have allowed an average of 280 yards on the ground in their two games—a terrible stat.
Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson said he was opening up every job on defense this week looking for a spark for his struggling unit.
Unfortunately, trying to spark a 0-2 team that's heading on the road by more adding more confusion probably isn't the best plan, but we've seen it work before.
Many times Irish fans saw Lou Holtz throw caution to the wind and make wholesale changes when the Irish needed a spark. But the real question is: Is Gilbertson and his staff capable of such a feat? A walk through "Huskyland" would suggest no.
The Irish running game is improving, but we don't believe the Irish will hang 400 on the Huskies on the ground, nor do we believe they'll reach 300.
We do believe they'll have success on the ground, however, and that will probably spell doom for the Huskies. If the Irish can have success in both the run and the pass, they can be a very effective on offense.
Add to that an impressive Irish defense and the Irish should be able to win this game fairly handily.
The Huskies have playmakers to make life difficult, however, but their tight ends have one catch combined. Their backs combine for just eight, and they don't seem to use the middle of the field—where the Irish are vulnerable—with much success.
We expect the Huskies to take a page from Michigan State and spread the Irish defense and try to run. The Spartans had some success with this game plan, and the Huskies do have some good backs.
If the Huskies can run the ball on this Irish defense, look out. Charles Frederick has plenty of speed to get behind the Irish secondary and can make the types of plays that can change momentum in games.
But we don't see that happening in this game.
We think the Irish make some early stops on defense, and the Irish get the running game going early. If that happens, this should be a fairly easy win for Notre Dame.
We expect the Huskies to make some plays, however, but not enough to squeak out a win against an improving and already impressive Irish defense.
Notre Dame: 35 Washington: 17