LAS VEGAS — Stay-at-home orders associated with the pandemic are being followed to the extreme by a Notre Dame football team which has not hit the road this season. Obviously, there are no objections from coach Brian Kelly, who has won 21 in a row at home.
The Fighting Irish have made a soft landing in the ACC — at least until No. 1 Clemson visits on Nov. 7 — by posting three double-digit wins, including conference victories over Duke and Florida State.
Notre Dame is expected to roll again Saturday when it hosts Louisville, which is riding a three-game losing skid and is tied with the Seminoles for last in the 15-team league. The Cardinals will be playing their third consecutive road game.
Based on what coach Scott Satterfield accomplished at Appalachian State and in his first year at Louisville — taking over a 2-10 team and turning in an 8-5 record — hopes were high for the Cardinals. Dual-threat quarterback Malik Cunningham returned with an arsenal of speedy playmakers. Satterfield’s team hit a low point last week in a 46-27 loss at Georgia Tech. Cunningham passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 50 yards and two scores, but the running backs behind him lost three fumbles, including one by Javian Hawkins, who rushed for 155 yards.
The Cardinals need to cut down on turnovers, but definitely have the talent to stay in a track meet with senior quarterback Ian Book and the Irish. This line opened 14, and it’s a buy-low spot on the ’dog.
The pick: Louisville +17.
(Home team in CAPS)
SOUTH CAROLINA (+3.5) over Auburn
Sophomore quarterback Bo Nix has completed just 56.8 percent of his passes for the Tigers, who averted Arkansas’ upset bid last week due to a blown call by the officials. The Gamecocks, 1-2 with losses to Florida and Tennessee, have displayed more offensive potential behind QB Collin Hill and running back Kevin Harris.
LOUISIANA TECH (+13.5) over Marshall
An impressive start by the Thundering Herd has inflated this point spread. The Bulldogs are slumping offensively, but quarterback Luke Anthony (10 touchdown passes, two interceptions) and running back Justin Henderson are capable of moving the ball, and coach Skip Holtz is 20-9 ATS in the ’dog role.
MISSISSIPPI STATE (+5) over Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher is off his biggest coaching win with the Aggies, who upended Florida in a 41-38 thriller. Texas A&M turns around and faces a letdown spot on the road. Mike Leach was the toast of the SEC when the Bulldogs opened the season by dropping 44 points on LSU. After Leach’s offense totaled 14 points in the next two games, he’s embarrassed and has a point to prove.
Last week: 2-1. Miami (L), Oklahoma (W), Florida State (W).
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