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As an Independent, Notre Dame plays a compelling schedule with teams from several conferences. On Saturday, they'll take their talents to the ACC, facing off against longtime rival Boston College. Gametime is set for 2:30 P.M ET with NBC Sports Network broadcasting the game.
Notre Dame is ranked 14th nationally right now via Team Rankings while Boston College ranks 64th. The Fighting Irish have won three games in a row, including a week last weekend against No. 23 Navy. Boston College has had an extra week to prepare for the game as their last game was on November 9th against Florida State.
BC Hunting For BowlComing off three consecutive seven-win seasons, the Boston College Eagles have a chance to make it four straight with seven wins if they can win their final two games. The task is tall, however, as a trip to Notre Dame awaits this week and a trip to Pittsburgh follows in their season finale.
Boston College has played without their starting quarterback, Anthony Brown, for most of the last two months. Sophomore Dennis Grosel has taken over and done a nice job for the Eagles. He's gone 2-2 as a starter, though the team doesn't ask him to do a whole lot. In fact, he's only had to throw 20-plus times once in their most recent game against Florida State. When you have a running back like AJ Dillon, that's not a bad thing, though. Dillon has the third-most rushing yards in the entire nation, trailing Chuba Hubbard (Ok. St.) and Jonathan Taylor (Wisc.), and 13 touchdowns.
It's clear that BC is a run-heavy team. They are averaging the most rush attempts per game from any non-triple-option team (53.1), and backup David Bailey has more rushing yards than most ACC starting tailbacks. He ranks 5th in the ACC in rushing yards. Unfortunately, Bailey is questionable for the ND game.
Notre Dame Ranked in Top 20For the most part, Notre Dame has mowed through their competition this year. They're currently 8-2 on the year, with their only losses coming against Top 20 teams -- No. 3 Georgia, No. 19 Michigan. They're not going to make the College Football Playoff or anything but they can still win 10 games and appear in a major bowl.
First up is Boston College, a team they have beaten five times this decade. The last time they lost to BC was in 2008. This year, the Eagles have a super rushing attack, which could spell trouble for Notre Dame. The Irish are allowing 169.7 rushing yards per game and over four yards per rush.
Offensively, it's all about Ian Book, their quarterback. He has been heating up lately, and his performance last weekend against a very good Navy defense was extra impressive. Book threw five touchdown passes against Navy and completed 70 percent of his passes. Overall, he's limited mistakes this year, throwing just six interceptions on over 300 passing attempts. Additionally, he's only taken 12 sacks all year.
- 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games.
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight-up win.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in November.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a pretty good spot for Notre Dame because they're way more talented than Boston College, have a major home-field advantage, and have the edge in the two most important categories, coach and quarterback. The best thing BC has going for them is AJ Dillon, their running back, but the Irish proved last week they can handle a major rushing attack, beating Navy by 32 points. Navy ran on everyone this year and earned a national ranking because of it, yet the Irish thwarted them on third down (5-for-16) and forced four turnovers. Dillon will get his yards but they don't have a quarterback who can make big third-down conversions against a plus defense. Notre Dame beats BC as bad as they beat Navy. Notre Dame 49, BC 21
Prediction: Notre Dame -18
Full-Game Total Pick
Notre Dame is averaging 40 points per game over their last two games and has a quarterback in Ian Book that can sling it wherever he wants. Boston College's defense has allowed 32.1 points per game this year so the Eagles are really going to be in trouble. Their defense has been a big reason why the over has hit in each of their last five games. Plus, the Eagles have AJ Dillon and he's good for a few touchdowns a game. They will struggle to break 20 but they'll help out some with this over.
Prediction: Over 63.5