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Staff Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh

| Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bill Brink, Managing Editor

Remember that last touchdown drive against Navy? That showed heart, intensity and execution. That showed who Notre Dame can be if it so chooses. It’s just gotta so choose, and it didn’t, for the most part, against Navy. Losing twice in three years at home to Navy and hearing rumors your coach is done ought to do it. The Irish can’t cover Jonathan Baldwin and they can’t stop Dion Lewis. But they can win this game. Mr. Clausen and Mr. Tate have some experience with close victories, and Mr. Floyd should pick up the idea quite nicely. I’m usually the pessimist of the group, and it’s tough to ignore the logical and statistical reasons why the Irish will lose, but to lapse into coachspeak, this game is about “want to,” and right now Notre Dame wants to.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 37, Pittsburgh 34 (OT)

Michael Bryan, Associate Sports Editor

Jimmy Clausen said before the season that Charlie Weis wouldn’t get fired because of him. And while you certainly can’t fault Clausen for his play this season, he may have to save Weis’ job with a win at Heinz Field. The Panthers are extremely talented on both sides of the ball, and can pick whether they want to run with Dion Lewis or pass with Bill Stull against the struggling Irish defense. Offensively, the Irish must run the ball to have a chance to win. Armando Allen’s return could be big both in the run and passing game. These are two very talented teams, but Pittsburgh’s stronger defense gives them the advantage to make a stop in overtime and get the win.

FINAL SCORE: Pittsburgh 33, Notre Dame 30 (OT)

Matt Gamber, Sports Editor

I can see two very different things happening in this game. I can imagine the Irish coming out with that deer in the headlights look we saw last season at USC after a disheartening loss to Syracuse that raised the same questions about the program’s future that are circulating now. We all know how that turned out. But I can also picture the Irish coming out angry, motivated and prepared to play their best game against arguably the best team on their schedule. As a lifelong sports fan, I’ve seen these kind of stories end both ways. But as a Notre Dame fan, in recent years it seems like Door No. 1 has been the one most likely to be opened. I’ve been wrong plenty of times about this team. I hope it happens again.

FINAL SCORE: Pittsburgh 31, Notre Dame 20

Sam Werner, Associate Sports Editor

It would make absolutely no sense for Notre Dame to win this game. Of course, over the past three seasons, Notre Dame football hasn’t exactly made a ton of sense. Expect the Irish to come out with an “us against the world” mentality, fighting for their season, as well as their head coach’s job. Even though last week’s loss to Navy was bad, this is still the same team that took USC down to the wire. Pittsburgh is good, for sure, but their biggest win so far this season was over an inconsistent South Florida team. Michael Floyd should be closer to 100 percent after an extra week of practice and recovery, and Charlie Weis will finally get his first win over a top ten team. Unfortunately for Weis, it may be too little, too late.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 31, Pittsburgh 27