Location: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)
Time: Jan. 1, 1 p.m. EST on ESPN
Teams: No. 5 Notre Dame (11–1) versus No. 9 Oklahoma State (11–2)
Line: ND -1.5
Forget any of the analytics, any of the stats, numbers, and players for a minute. This game is about Marcus Freeman. The video of the team speech introducing him as the coach had every player looking like they were ready to run through a brick wall. No fake accents, no drama, just pure excitement and the will to win.
Now we can get into football.
Notre Dame looked excellent down the stretch, and they were a few breaks away from sneaking into that 4 seed in the playoff. Oklahoma State just played its most emotional game of the season, and it wouldn't be surprising if they're due for another letdown against a Notre Dame team that's riding high and heading in the right direction.
The line seems to indicate this game will be close but don't hesitate with taking the Irish here.
Both of these teams boast great defenses, so don't expect too many points. It could very well come down to a field goal, but the way both of these programs are headed, we like Notre Dame to pull off the emotional win.
The Score: Notre Dame, 24-20
(We do most of my guessing based on a combination of The Smell Test and gut. If you’re looking for stat-based expertise to help you pick your games, check out our friends over at TeamRankings.com. They have a fantastic strategy guide and expert picks, too.)
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