Seven days after No. 7 Notre Dame broke tradition and actually played a conference game as a member of the ACC, it's going back to doing what we all know it to do best over the years: play nonconference games. Saturday will mark the second time the Irish have faced South Florida and Notre Dame is still waiting to pick up its first win against the Bulls.
What makes the first meeting all the more interesting is who was coaching South Florida when it beat the Irish 23-20 in South Bend, Indiana, back in 2011: Skip Holtz, who just so happens to be the son of the last Notre Dame coach to win a national title, Lou Holtz.
This year's meeting sees both teams coming off a win in their season-opener, with the Irish taking down Duke 27-13 while South Florida beat The Citadel 27-6. Considering how teams have looked in their first game of the season when playing against teams that have already played, that's good news for all of us.
Notre Dame: There was some good and bad in Notre Dame's win against Duke. The good news was that the Irish appear to have a new star on offense in running back Kyren Williams. The sophomore accounted for 205 total yards and two touchdowns in the game, and all of them were needed. Ian Book didn't have his best game, but it's hard to know if that resulted from Book playing poorly or the overall lack of proven playmakers in the passing game. Whatever the case, it's a situation that will need to be addressed if the Irish are to seriously contend with Clemson for an ACC title in their lone year as conference members.
South Florida: I'm not sure there's a lot to take away from South Florida's win last week. Sure, if you're a Bulls fan, you'd have liked to see a more convincing win than 27-6 against a team like The Citadel, but the Bulls seemed to be in a "let's just get through this" mode. It felt like a scrimmage at times as the Bulls used three quarterbacks, had 10 players get at least one carry and 11 different players caught at least one pass. If you were dressed, you were playing last week. It was a smart move because it not only gave everybody some action heading into this game against Notre Dame, but it didn't put anything on film that Notre Dame can make a conclusion on, either.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 19 | Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Notre Dame Stadium -- South Bend, Indiana
TV: USA Network | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Game prediction, picks
If there was one thing I took away from Notre Dame's performance against Duke last week, it's that, while Kyren Williams looks to be the real deal, this offense just doesn't seem very explosive. That makes it difficult to trust it as a favorite this large. Nor does it help that safety Kyle Hamilton was banged up during the game, and I can't be sure how healthy he'll be for this weekend. Also, while South Florida's offense didn't light up the scoreboard last week, it should be noted that three of the team's four touchdowns were scored in the first half before the reserves were sent out in full-force. So I'll take the points here. Pick: South Florida (+25.5)
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