#6 Notre Dame football game preview (vs UMass)

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If Notre Dame football is left out of the college football playoff this postseason, it might be due to their schedule. Those schedule issues aren’t related to this week, even though UMass does represent the weakest game on their schedule. The only threat the Minutemen provide here is the chance of ND “looking ahead” to their big road test at #11 Clemson the following week.

It’s not UMass dragging down their schedule that’s the biggest issue, it’s 1.) the ACC is the runt of the power five conference litter and 2015 Notre Dame football features an ACC heavy schedule and 2.) ND not being in a conference title game could hurt them. We saw that last season with TCU and Baylor.

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For whatever reason, maybe it’s the recency effect of making a “final impression,” the CFP committee punishes those that play in conference title games.

TV: NBC 2:30 central

SPREAD: ND -29

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Notre Dame football preview:

The injuries are piling up and that’s going to be an issue down the line. Not this week, but maybe once the Fighting Irish take on Clemson, USC or Stanford. 

In summer preseason training camp starting defensive tackle Jarron Jones was lost for the season (more on that here). In week one starting tailback Taurean Folston went down. QB1 Malik Zaire was a casualty of week three. Now it’s Drue Tranquill. Yes, every single football team suffers major injuries as the season goes on, but you have to wonder when 2015 Notre Dame football is finally going to catch a break in this regard. The Fighting Irish have lost six players for the season due to injury; it’s only week four.

On the plus side, ND running back C.J. Prosise had a huge breakout game. Here’s more on that. 

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Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, yesterday on what to expect from UMass on Saturday:

“Offensively, we’re going to have to deal with a very stout front. And they play both three down and four down. They were all three down against Colorado and they come back the next week against Temple and they are practically all four down which gave Temple some fits.”

A couple of side bars-

-The beautiful game is huge among the 2015 Notre Dame football roster. Wide receiver Chris Brown (Borussia Dortmund supporter) broke it down Saturday, following his team’s 30-22 win over #14 Georgia Tech:

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“C.J. (Prosise), Elijah Shumate, Avery Sebastian, Torii Hunter, overseas soccer we have our teams that we’ve picked, obviously when USA is playing we stick with them.”

“Torii’s is Mexico, C.J.’s is Juventus, Jarron Jones is Chelsea, Avery Sebastian is Arsenal, Elijah Shumate is England, so we got a little league going.” Here’s more on that with the BVB fan.

-The presence of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup made a big impression on a few Notre Dame football players. Here’s more on that. 

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UMass Preview:

Most people don’t even know that UMass has football. Whenever you mention UMass athletics, John Calipari comes to mind first. Then a distant second, maybe Marcus Camby. Yes, that Final Four was later vacated, but still. The Minutemen began a two year transition to FBS in 2011, first gaining eligibility to make a bowl in 2013. They play their home games at the same exact venue where Tom Brady cheats and gets away with it.

The Minutemen gave Temple a good game this year, and since Temple thrashed Penn State, then…no, just no. Transitive property of inequality doesn’t work in college football. We’ve learned that time and time again.

UMass did make something called the Boardwalk Bowl in 1972 and something else called the Tangerine Bowl in 1964.

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Brian Kelly on UMass:

“It’s a big transition from Georgia Tech to UMass, specifically what they do on offense with shifting and trading and formations; it’s a nightmare in terms of what we’re going to have to get ready for, and then defensively preparing for both three-down and four-down and a veteran secondary, as well. Well-coached football team and one that we’ll have to play well if we expect to win.”

Notre Dame football prediction:

ND 56, UMass 17

The Irish face their toughest test of the season a week from Saturday at #11 Clemson. They may or may not be underdogs in that one. It’s also quite possibly the last time that ND will be the underdogs in the regular season. At least if current form holds.

Paul M. Banks owns, operates and sometimes writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. The website is also featured on News Now.

Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes to the Chicago Tribune RedEye. He also appears regularly on numerous talk shows all across the country. Catch him Tuesdays on KOZN 1620 The Zone.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

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