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Notre Dame at Syracuse: TV, Time, Preview & Prediction

Brigham Young v Notre Dame

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 08: Linebacker Jack Kiser #24, head coach Marcus Freeman and linebacker JD Bertrand #27 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate after the team’s 28-20 victory over the Brigham Young Cougars in the Shamrock Series game at Allegiant Stadium on October 08, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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The gambling line hardly matters at this point, Notre Dame and No. 16 Syracuse quickly approaching pick’em status early Saturday morning. The Orange home-field advantage will not be enough of an excuse for the Irish should they fall short his afternoon, despite nearly 50,000 fans filling the Carrier Dome—errrrrr the JMA Wireless Dome with decibels. Notre Dame (4-3) has a chance at a top-25 road win today, not only a literal chance but also a viable one with some Syracuse (6-1) weaknesses exposed a week ago at Clemson.

That chance will largely hinge on the Irish ability to slow Orange star running back Sean Tucker, the foundation of all of Syracuse’s offense and a foundation mostly ignored last week in that 27-21 loss. Simplifying this afternoon’s matchup to a Tucker question is unnecessary, given Orange senior quarterback Garrett Shrader is quite capable of taking over a game on his own, but Tucker will be the primary question facing Notre Dame today.

No previous Irish opponent has so leaned on one player; few teams in the country do. In that respect, this Syracuse tilt may be unique. But in a week, Notre Dame will face No. 5 Clemson (8-0), and while sophomore running back Will Shipley is not as crucial to the Tigers’ offense as Tucker is to the Orange’s, he is not far off. Neither is receiver Zay Flowers of Boston College, but again, Syracuse’s singular reliance on Tucker is a realm unto itself, one which will challenge the Irish today.

TIME: 12:00 ET, the rare occurrence of Notre Dame playing a road game short of primetime, let alone as early as lunchtime. The Irish have not played a true road game this early in more than four years, much to every beat writer’s chagrin.

TV: ABC will broadcast this pseudo-ACC showcase, with Joe Tessitore on play-by-play, Greg McElroy as the analyst and Katie George working as the sideline reporter. If needing to watch from a mobile device, the Watch ESPN app should provide the broadcast.

PREVIEW: Occasionally, a frustration arises from a a beat writer. Arguing Syracuse will “make one of those Playoff hopefuls worry” during the preseason undersold what would come from the Orange, but its intention was in the right place.

When the bartender emptying a bottle of Tullamore Dew, wearing a highlighter-orange fisherman’s cap rolled into a beanie hears a conversation about Notre Dame playing at Syracuse, he is prone to dismiss it. But do not. And yes, that happened this Friday night.

The Orange may yet contend for a New Year’s Six appearance, and the path to that showcase begins with a win against the Irish today. Syracuse will need to finish as the ACC team ranked behind only Clemson to make the Orange Bowl, a possibility based on the Tigers reaching the College Football Playoff, but that is very much still within reach, provided Syracuse beats Notre Dame.

PREDICTION: As of Saturday’s earliest hours, the Orange is favored by 1.5 points with a combined points total Over/Under of 47.5. To put that spread into perspective, the money line for a Notre Dame win is +105, as in, bet $100 to win $105.

After spending 67 seconds with the Irish favored to start the week, Syracuse has been favored since. As the week went along, that line fell from Notre Dame as a three-point underdog to the Irish essentially being on par with the Orange in betting terms. Not quite equal, but close to it.

One could argue this prediction derives from vibes, from that aforementioned bartender wearing a freight-orange winter cap, sometimes kismet making a decision before it is ever considered.

But the reality comes down to Syracuse being a more complete football team, led by a veteran quarterback and with a dynamic running back frustrated by last week’s underuse. The Orange have, for the first time under head coach Dino Babers, found a bona fide defense. Though an offensive coordinator by trade, the broad assumption around Babers has long been his defense would hold serve.

Instead, it gave up at least 27.0 points per game in his first five seasons in western New York. Only in the last two seasons has Syracuse noticeably bowed up on defense, more so this year than ever before, giving up only 15.1 points per game.

That diligence may be enough to restrict Notre Dame, an offense that has looked synced against only North Carolina and BYU, one a defense orchestrated by Gene Chizik and one looking meeker by the week. Lest the Irish gain six yards per rush attempt, a meager output by Syracuse running back Sean Tucker’s standards should be enough to outpace Notre Dame.

And if this game comes down to the final few minutes, as a low-scoring, tight affair is prone to, Irish junior quarterback Drew Pyne’s disastrous-in-all-facets two-minute drill against Stanford leaves little faith Notre Dame can win late on the road.

Syracuse 24, Notre Dame 17
(Spread: 2-5; Over/Under: 2-5; Straight-up: 4-3)

INSIDE THE IRISH
Things We Learned: Notre Dame offense, QB Drew Pyne look to ‘tailor’ approach despite limitations
Notre Dame Opponents: Syracuse letdown at Clemson only sets up Orange this week
And In That Corner … No. 16 Syracuse Orange and sold out Dome host Notre Dame
NBC and Peacock to host Clemson vs Notre Dame watch parties at the Linebacker Lounge and Backstreets Pub
Things To Learn: Notre Dame’s swing game focuses on stopping Sean Tucker at all costs

OUTSIDE READING
Davis, Bauer embody Freeman’s ‘all have roles’ mantra
Seven potential College Football Playoff spoilers
Soundings: Requiem for the Rallies
How the Tennessee grounds crew got Neyland Stadium’s field ready after a historic upset of Alabama
How Sickos Committee became the internet’s ultimate champion of ugly college football

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