Notre Dame is hoping it can rinse the lingering bad taste from its mouth after being thumped by a score of 42-14 by Alabama in the BCS National Championship game.
The Irish (12-1 SU and 7-6 ATS last season) open their 2013 campaign in South Bend, Ind., hosting Temple (4-7 SU and ATS).
The defending national runner-up opened up as a 30-point favorite at many sportsbooks in Vegas and around the world and has seen been bet down to 29.5. The total was hovering around 53.
The Irish, who have won 21 of their last 26 lid-lifters, have laid 25 or more points in 11 games since 1997 and have covered only two of those contests, according to the OddsShark.com database.
Leading the charge for coach Brian Kelly will be a freshmen-laden class that is expected to have an immediate impact on the Golden Domers' depth chart, including Jaylon Smith, who won the Butkus Award as the nation's top high school linebacker last year.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound behemoth beat out junior Ben Councell for the job.
Another part of that class is Corey Robinson, a backup at one wide receiver slot who happens to be the son of former NBA standout David Robinson. Reports out of camp reveal he is capable of catching anything near him, but with a basketball-like, 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame, he's not strong enough to be an every-down player.
Temple, which will challenge the Irish with a pro spread offense and a 4-3 defense, returns 45 lettermen, including 15 starters. Senior quarterback Clinton Granger started the last two games of the 2012 season and completed 31-of-55 passes for 370 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
His top target will be junior wideout Jalen Fitzpatrick, who led the Owls with 30 receptions for 363 yards and two scores in 2012.
Notre Dame, which has played 17 games decided by a touchdown or less since Kelly arrived in 2010, has won 14 in a row straight-up when installed as the favorite but is just 7-7 at the window in those games.
The matchup goes here on NBC at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday.