No. 8 Notre Dame plays No. 14 Georgia Tech this Saturday. The Irish are ranked higher, and the game is in South Bend. And yet, Notre Dame is the underdog.
Yes, Georgia Tech is favored to win by a field goal. Is this all because of Malik Zaire’s season-ending ankle injury?
“It is a big part,” sportsline.com analyst and Vegas insider Todd Fuhrman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “You look at what Notre Dame’s lost in the first two weeks and you can make the case that probably the two guys that were going to compete this season for offensive MVP honors (Zaire and Tarean Folston) are both sidelined with season-ending injuries. Georgia Tech, through the first two weeks, they’ve been an absolute juggernaut – and you can go back to last season where they hung a crooked number on Mississippi State as well. And even before that, (they) had a chance to flirt with an ACC title if they were able to get a late score against Florida State.”
Georgia Tech averaged 35.5 points in its final four games last season – all against top-20 teams, including three in the top 10. The Yellow Jackets lost to Florida State, 37-35, in the ACC Championship but beat No. 7 Mississippi State, 49-34, in the Orange Bowl. They’ve also scored 134 points through the first two weeks of the season.
Still, it’s odd to see a lower-ranked team be the favorite on the road, especially when the home team is Notre Dame.
“This is interesting because typically Notre Dame is a real public team, especially being ranked ahead of Georgia Tech,” Fuhrman said. “But about three out of every four tickets that are being placed right now – and of course it is still early on Thursday – (are) coming in on Georgia Tech. It is a buyer-beware situation and one of the games I’ll be more than fascinated to try and watch because it is so difficult to adjust power numbers on a college team that loses two marquee weapons so early in the season.”