College Football Picks, Predictions, and Previews: The Way It Oughtta Be

Syracuse vs. Notre Dame 12/5/2020 College Football Picks, Prediction, and Preview

The Syracuse visits Notre Dame on 12/5/2020 at 2:30PM.

Syracuse and Notre Dame face off in an important game for both teams as every game in this shortened season with limited or no fans in attendance means more. Syracuse has a record of 1-9 this season. Notre Dame is 9-0 this season. Both have players to meet and know.

Syracuse Team Defense Preview

Syracuse has had 125 defensive drives in non-garbage time minutes and they yield 5.8 plays per drive. Syracuse lets opponents run a lot of plays per drive and in the Fourth Quarter, this team could be gassed. Syracuse has shown an inability to stop defenses from converting on 4th Downs and they let opponents get into manageable 3rd Down situations where an RPO may be especially deadly. Passing plays make up 44.97% of their opponents’ play calls.Their opponents favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

Defenses want to stop offenses from getting into a 3rd Down where the options are plentiful. Unfortunately, this defense is too porous to limit those choices. How effective are opposing offensive lines given what we know about their ability to force negative yardage rushing plays? Syracuse can take credit for holding the offensive line of their opponent to 2.97 yards per carry. Generally speaking, this is an average defense when it comes to how offensive lines control or fail to control them on the ground. This is also a team that is allowing running backs and quarterbacks to get to the second-level in an average fashion. Opponents have shown a relatively average level of explosiveness in the running game, maybe there will be a breakout rushing play against them.

This Defense has had average success disrupting the flow of the opposing offense.. Getting more granual into the front seven and their ability to cause trouble, they are just average in this regard. Syracuse has shown themselves to be better at stopping the pass than the run this season.

Syracuse Team Offense Preview

Syracuse has had 119 total drives this season and they generate 4.4 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Syracuse is not a team that runs many plays per drive. The offense is either prone to faltering and struggles to notch first downs or extremely explosive, we will need to find out a bit more to get answers. Struggles to get ahead of the chains and convert on third and fourth down are common, the offense can stagnate. Passing plays make up 59.08% of their play calls.This is an Air Raid Offense team, they are going to pass the ball a lot and running plays are only used to keep opponents honest.

Syracuse struggles with running the ball, getting zero or negative yard plays is disspiriting and the offensive line is not effectively making a good push. Poor playcalling, pre-snap adjustments or post-snap reads may be responsible and this could fall on the Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, and Head Coach. Based on the Adjusted Line Yards metric, which measures the amount of credit that should be ascribed to the offensive line for a rushing play, they average 2.44 yards per carry. So what does this mean? It means that the offensive line has been incredibly disappointing in their contribution to the ground game. When it comes to getting to that second level where linebackers have not crashed down on the line of scrimmage, they are getting stopped with ease. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to bust out big rushing plays.

Defenses have been able to impose their will on the Syracuse Offense this season. Front sevens of opposing defenses are causing a lot of problems. Syracuse has shown themselves to be a better running team than passing team this season.

Notre Dame Team Defense Preview

Notre Dame has had 93 total defensive drives this season and they yield 5.11 plays per drive. Relatively speaking, Notre Dame is not a team that allows many plays per drive. This defense either gives up big plays quickly or induces a lot of three-and-outs, we shall find out more. Opponents face third and long situations a lot against this defense. This is a defense that forces opponents to commit penalties, have compromised offensive line play, and fail to convert on crunch possessions. Notre Dame opponents pass the football 56.42% of the time.They are a team that faces a lot of Air Raid Offenses.

Notre Dame opponents have struggled with running the ball and this defense has crushed the spirits of their opponents with zero or negative yard plays. 4th and Short is not a cake walk against this defense, maybe passing on 4th and Short or having some sort of RPO is the way to go here because if an Offensive Coordinator thinks that they can just line and run a Quarterback Sneak or hand it off to a tailback, they are mistaken. Opponent rushing yards attributed to their offensive line this season comes out to 2.01 yards per carry. Opponent offensive lines have been simply unable to support their running games against this defense. When it comes to getting to that second level, running backs are getting stopped. This defense does not allow themselves to be gashed. The breakout rushing plays are simply not happening, it is a massive reach to expect this team to give up big rushing plays.

Notre Dame has made the turnover belt, chain, pads, lunch pail or whatever gimmick they use change hands a lot. This is a Defense that causes pure aggravation. Notre Dame should have a sign ready for opponents near the Visitor Locker Room that says “Welcome to Hell”, this front seven is deep and they cause a lot of problems. Notre Dame is better at stopping the run than the pass this season.

Notre Dame Team Offense Preview

Notre Dame has had 91 total drives this season and they generate 6.29 plays per drive. When you are among the best at plays per drive, you are certainly a team that aims to wear down the opposition with a high play count or with long, physical grinding drives that eat up a lot of clock. We need to find out more here when it comes to Notre Dame. Notre Dame has shown a capability to be explosive on first and second down to avoid third downs and has converted well (relatively) on 3rd and 4th Down situations. Passing plays make up 42.83% of their play calls.They favor running the ball as opposed airing it out.

On first downs, getting ahead of the chains is crucial and running the ball well on first down can get a team there, Notre Dame has done a good job avoiding the negative yardage rushing plays. How effective is the offensive line given what we know about their ability to prevent negative yards on rushing plays? More than you think, thanks to the Adjusted Line Yards metric. Notre Dame can take credit for 3.29 yards per carry. This is an elite offensive line when it comes to generating a push for the running game. They know how to create creases for running backs to break loose. Playing 7 in a box may not be enough for opposing defenses, this is a great O-Line. The offensive line and running back corps deserve a lot of credit for gashing defenses with their running game like the way they have this season. They are capable of busting out a long run, which is really good when the team has the ball in their own territory.

Notre Dame has bullied and controlled defenses this season, defenses have not been able to dictate what this offense is able to do to them. Opponents should consider a containment strategy. There has been a relatively good job done by this Offensive Line to prevent opposing front sevens from causing problems consistently. Notre Dame has shown themselves to be a better running team than passing team this season.

The Syracuse Roster

The Players to Watch for Syracuse

Rex Culpepper QB 6-3 221

This season, Rex Culpepper has put up 843 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has thrown 7 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 98.9thus far this season. Rex Culpepper has thrown 7 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Rex Culpepper has -65.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 2.38 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 22.0 times this season, which puts him in the 61.11 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 0.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Sean Tucker RB 5-10 202

This season, Sean Tucker has 525 rushing yards on 114 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 3 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Sean Tucker picked up 57 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 5 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Taj Harris WR 6-2 164

This season, Taj Harris picked up 664 yards. He caught the ball 50 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 5 receiving touchdowns this season.

Josh Black DL 6-3 282

The leading tackler among Defensive Ends for Syracuse, Josh Black has 36 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 3 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 78.17 percentile among Defensive Ends. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 2 times this season, which put him in the 82.48 percentile among all Defensive Ends in College Football. He has forced 0 fumbles this season.

Ja’Had Carter DB 6-2 191.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Syracuse, Ja’Had Carter had 60 tackles which puts him in the 98.29 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 3 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 94.61 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 0 times this season. Ja’Had Carter as a ball hawker was able to pick off 1 passes this season, which puts him in the 84.5 percentile among returning secondary position players this season.

The Notre Dame Roster

The Players to Watch for Notre Dame

Ian Book QB 6-0 206

This season, Ian Book has put up 2096 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has thrown 1 interceptions. He has a QB Rating of 148.9thus far this season. Ian Book has thrown 1 interceptions this season.As a rusher, Ian Book has 412.0 rushing yards, which puts him in the 97.14 percentile among Quarterbacks. He ran the ball as opposed to throwing the ball 83.0 times this season, which puts him in the 94.29 percentile. Has he hit paydirt as a runner? He has 6.0 rushing touchdowns this season.

Kyren Williams RB 5-9 204

This season, Kyren Williams has 901 rushing yards on 160 carries. Was he able to get to the end zone on the ground? He has 12 rushing touchdowns.As a receiver in the backfield, Kyren Williams picked up 235 yards. He caught the ball as opposed to taking handoffs or catching laterals 21 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 1 receiving touchdowns this season.

Javon McKinley WR 6-2 215

This season, Javon McKinley picked up 549 yards. He caught the ball 30 times this season. Did he score often as a receiver? He had 0 receiving touchdowns this season.

Daelin Hayes DL 6-3 270

The leading tackler among Defensive Ends for Notre Dame, Daelin Hayes has 17 tackles this season. He was able to keep rushers back and penetrate the offensive line with 6 tackles for loss, which puts him in the 92.0 percentile among Defensive Ends. When it came to rushing the Quarterback, he has been able to take them down 3 times this season, which put him in the 90.49 percentile among all Defensive Ends in College Football. He has forced 2 fumbles this season.

Kyle Hamilton DB 6-4 216.0

He is the leading tackler among non-exclusive Defensive Backs (meaning he can play either Safety Position, Nickel Back, Star or even play as a Cornerback in coverage) for Notre Dame, Kyle Hamilton had 45 tackles which puts him in the 94.18 percentile among returning non-exclusive Defensive Backs. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 4 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 97.02 percentile among Secondary position players. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 0 times this season. Kyle Hamilton as a ball hawker was able to pick off 0 passes this season, which puts him in the 38.31 percentile among returning secondary position players this season.

Shaun Crawford CB 5-9 180

Considered the leading tackler among Cornerbacks for Notre Dame, Shaun Crawford had 38 tackles which puts him in the 97.07 percentile among Corners. He was able to keep rushers and receivers back on screens with 4 tackles for loss this season, which puts him in the 99.27 percentile among Corners. When it came to blitzing the Quarterback, this season he was able to take them down 2 times this season. Shaun Crawford as a ball hawker was able to pick off 1 passes this season, which puts him in the 82.99 percentile among Corners this season.

Syracuse vs. Notre Dame Prediction, Picks, and Odds


Prediction: Syracuse 12 Notre Dame 41

Spread Pick: Syracuse +33.5 -102 Pinnacle Sports
Moneyline Pick: Notre Dame -3880 Heritage
Total Pick: Over 51.5 -110 BetOnline