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Big Ten Non-Conference Schedule, Week 4: F Notre Dame

Previews of the Big Ten football matchups for Ohio State vs UNLV, UCF vs Maryland, Georgia Southern vs Indiana, and Notre Dame vs Michigan State.

Michigan State v Notre Dame Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

I so badly wanted to just say “fuck Notre Dame” for the intro, but the Mothership would’ve nuked me out of orbit had I tried. And can you imagine if I had written some satirical article about...I don’t know, something ludicrous like Brian Kelly being responsible for a young man’s death and still keeping his job?

So, just in case there’s any doubt, fuck Notre Dame. We cool? Fuck Notre Dame.

This allows us the opportunity to review the rules, because we really haven’t discussed an important one yet:

My General Rules:

  • Don't lose at home to G5 schools.
  • Blow FCS teams the hell out.
  • Cover spreads on the road if you're the underdog.
  • Cover the spread at home.
  • Beat Notre Dame.

Onward we go.

#10 Ohio State (-40.5) vs UNLV Rebels

11am || BTN


Alright, we got that out of the way?

Because again, as we know, Ohio State struggled against Indiana and for a bit against Army. But while J.K. Dobbins and JT Barrett should run roughshod over the Rebels, QB Armani Rogers and WR Devonte Boyd will try to pace the UNLV attack.

The question here is how long UNLV makes it a game. Evan Pantels is shoddy but capable (2/5 FG 40+) from distance. Lexington Thomas has 5 TDs and 9.0 ypc on 38 carries. At the same time, the defense has recorded one sack on the year, and the playmakers on the line aren’t there. Cover, Buckeyes, and convince us this has just been some weird waking nightmare.

Maryland Terrapins (-3.5) vs. UCF Knights

2pm || FS1

Both of these teams are “possibly good, but they did one thing and then...yeah.” In the case of UCF, that’s because of circumstances way, way beyond their control. In the case of Maryland, that’s because they caught Texas with their pants down, rolled Towson, and then rested on the third day week, just like God, or something.

Anyway, despite it coming in a 61-17 rolling of Florida International, the Citronauts looked impressive. McKenzie Milton can throw the ball all over the damn park, by Maryland has its own weapon in Ty Johnson, who is seemingly trying to have a full college career in which he doesn’t average under 10 ypc (he’s at 17 for 256 and 3 scores this year, for the uninitiated).

Normally this would be a problematic one for me to pick, because we just don’t know enough about either team’s form to say “UCF is struggling” or “Maryland is on a roll.” Which is why the rules and this low, low line make it easy! Prove you’re for real, Maryland. Cover at home.

Indiana Hoosiers (-24) vs Georgia Southern Eagles

2:30pm || BTN

Georgia Southern is one of those cool stories that, if you haven’t read about it, you should go do that. Bill Connelly’s preview says it well, too: In Statesboro, you run the option.

The problem for the Eagles turns out they might not be very good at running the option? Coming off a 5-7 collapse under new head coach Tyson Summers, Georgia Southern tripped out of the gates in 2017, taking a paycheck and the accompanying beating from Auburn...then losing, 22-12, to New Hampshire in a game moved to Birmingham because of Hurricane Irma.

It’s all about the QB for Southern, and that’s a problem, because QB Shai Werts has yet to turn in an efficient performance. None of the Eagles’ rushers with significant carries are averaging over 3.3 ypc, and Werts has only 3.37 ypa passing (15/30 for 101 and 2 INTs). That’s not a pretty look, and it’s likely got folks downstate (I’m in Atlanta, I can say that) scratching their heads at the gun-option the Eagles are running.

Like always, Indiana has the challenge of playing an option team: Stop the dive. They do that, this is an easy cover—the Eagles aren’t stopping Richard Lagow or Peyton Ramsey if they’re not stopping New Hampshire through the air. Cover at home. PIck a quarterback, too, if you’d be so kind.

Michigan State Spartans vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-4)

7pm || FOX

We all know where this is going, right?

Fuck Notre Dame.

If we’re saying something vaguely predictive, Michigan State’s gotta sell out to stop QB Brandon Wimbush and RB Josh Adams on the ground. Wimbush isn’t the most efficient passer in the world (47/93 for 491, 2 TDs and 2 INTs) and relies on his legs when plays break down—control the pocket and avoid giving up the home run ball to Alize Mack or Equanimeous St. Brown.

OK, I really just wanted to type Equanimeous St. Brown.

Free up LJ Scott on the ground, because a stringy Irish defense (3.67 ypc and just 1 rush TD allowed) could force a couple errors out of an error-prone Spartans offense. Establish the run, Michigan State, and let Brian Lewerke pick on the Irish off play-action to Darrell Stewart Jr. (calling one long for a TD).

Win, Michigan State.

So what, then?

What I Want

4-0, as I think we all reasonably do.

What I Expect

4-0, because Michigan State better not let us down.

Burn mattresses in the streets if...

2-2 happens. Not so much because it’s the be-all, end-all for the conference, but because it would likely involve a loss to Notre Dame.

And fuck Notre Dame.


In Week 4 the Big Ten non-conference record will be...

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    (110 votes)
  • 27%
    3-1 with a loss to Notre Dame
    (80 votes)
  • 19%
    3-1 with a loss to UCF
    (57 votes)
  • 10%
    (31 votes)
  • 5%
    Apocalyptic levels of bad.
    (15 votes)
293 votes total Vote Now