Staff Predictions: Michigan
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, October 25, 2019
Connor Mulvena — Sports Editor
The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Irish, who nearly let one slip against an inferior USC team. Notre Dame has hopefully used this time off to prepare for Michigan’s Big Ten defense and work out some offensive kinks. But Michigan is coming off a tough loss in a rivalry game that the Wolverines really needed to win in order to stay alive in the Big Ten. So now, you’d have to imagine the Wolverines are out for statement wins now that the playoff is out of the picture. Plus, the national criticism Harbaugh and Michigan have received about their performance in rivalry games has to fuel the fire. From the beginning of the season, I was worried about this game, and I still am. I think the Irish will pull out a close one, but I don’t think it’ll be pretty in Ann Arbor.
FINAL: Notre Dame 14, Michigan 10
Hayden Adams — Associate Sports Editor
The annual Michigan overhyping train came in full force this season as the Wolverines were picked by many to finally break through this season. Quarterback guru Jim Harbaugh was going to revamp the offense, former 5-star recruit Shea Patterson would live up to expectations and the Wolverines would finally topple an Urban Meyer-less Ohio State. That was nine weeks ago, before Michigan eked out a three-point double-overtime home win against Army, before they got manhandled at Wisconsin, going down 35-0 at one point, and before they mustered only 10 points in a win over Iowa. Granted, minus Wisconsin, their defense has remained stout, but the offense leaves an enormity to be desired. Coming off an emotional near-upset against Penn State, the Wolverines won’t be able to stop a balanced and rejuvenated Irish team.
FINAL: Notre Dame 27, Michigan 17
Ellen Geyer — Sports Writer
The seat under Jim Harbaugh is only getting warmer with the progression of this season. It seems like every week the Wolverines head coach promises viewers a completely revamped offense, and every week his blue-and-maize-clad boys get kicked around in some way or another. Surprise, surprise, Michigan is yet again overrated.
That being said, there’s still plenty of potential for Notre Dame to slip up this game. Having a bye week under their belt and the extra rest and preparation that comes with it certainly helps, but it’s never easy to play at the Big House, especially not at night. The return of both Jafar Armstrong and Shaun Crawford will certainly help the Irish, but make no mistake: they’ll have to come ready to compete on Saturday. If Notre Dame plays the way they did against Georgia, they should have no trouble taking care of business. If they make sloppy mistakes like they did against USC, they could be in trouble. Ultimately, however, I think the Irish will find a way to pull this one out.
FINAL: Notre Dame 24, Michigan 17
Jack Concannon — Sports Writer
I’m not sure what is supposed to impress me about this Michigan squad. They beat Iowa at home in a game that saw them score 10 points against a team whose best win to date is a 26-20 triumph over Purdue. They lost a close game at Penn State that saw them get utterly dominated in the first half only to string together a futile comeback in the second half. There is nothing on their resume that suggests they need to be ranked in the top 25, let alone favored in Vegas against the Irish.
Despite all of this, the Wolverines have tons of talent on their roster. They have had top ten recruiting classes three of the last four years, and have a coach in Jim Harbaugh who is likely coaching for his job. With the Big Ten out of reach, the Wolverines are desperate for a win to re-assert their national status, but I do not believe they are going to get it this Saturday. Shea Patterson is good, but the Irish secondary is better. The Wolverines defense is good, but the Irish coaches have shown great offensive creativity against Georgia and USC. It’s the Irish in this one, and the schedule is all downhill from here.
FINAL: Notre Dame 31, Michigan 17