Here it is! The first weekend of the college football season is finally here, and what better way to start it off than my favorite matchup of the year. Since I was a kid I was brought up in a house that was all Notre Dame. Following the Irish was part of my childhood. In 1994 I attended my first Purdue game, but that was only because they were playing Notre Dame. Notre Dame won 39-21 that day with both Zellars and Kinder running for over 100 yards. The significance of that game was the fact that I bought ‘the shirt’ that Notre Dame sells every year. I have worn that shirt to every matchup between these two teams. The next time that I saw the two teams play was in 1996. Allan Rossum took the opening kickoff 99 yards for the score, and Notre Dame never looked back.
In 1997 I saw my first game of this matchup at Ross-Ade Stadium. I sat in the Purdue student section with my kelly green Notre Dame shirt on to watch the Irish lose 28-17. Joe Tiller had his new team ready to go that day. The hardest game I ever watched in the series was Bob Davie’s horrible clock management in 1999. The Irish lost 28-23 because the Irish could not get plays off. They missed chances at halftime, and a huge one at the end of the game to put points on the board without getting a play off.
Today will be the 12th game I have been to in this matchup. It may also be the biggest toss up when it comes to picking a team. Both teams have a lot of questions going into game one. The Brian Kelly era starts today for Notre Dame. How will his new schemes work with the team that he inherited from Charlie Weis? Kelly has some weapons on offense with Michael Floyd, Kyle Rudolph, and Dayne Crist. Purdue really has no depth at cornerback, and no big stopper there. Floyd should have a big day against the Boiler secondary. The biggest question though is will a fairly new offensive line give Crist time to find Floyd?
This is a big deal because the biggest thing the Boilers have going for them is the defensive line. They have two very good defensive ends with some good tackles in between. This may be the battle of the day. The Boiler defensive line against the Irish offensive line. I think that this is where the game will be won or lost.
Predictions: Here is the fun part of the blog. I type a bunch of nonsense, and then try and back it up with predictions. If you remember last season you will know that the two rarely ever matched up. This year I will pick ten games every week just to make things interesting. I will try and stick near the Big Ten with a few interesting games thrown in. New member of the Big Ten Nebraska gets some love today as well. Here are my week one picks.
#9 Iowa 45 – Eastern Illinois 3
#12 Wisconsin 35 – UNLV 21
#8 Nebraska 45 – Western Kentucky 6
#19 Penn State 42 – Youngstown State 0
#21 LSU 21 #18 North Carolina 17
Michigan State 34 – Western Michigan 17
Michigan 42 – UConn 13
Northwestern 23 – Vanderbilt 21
Missouri 38 – Illinois 13
The big game of the week of course is the Irish versus the Boilermakers. Who will win this matchup?
The Boilers will squeak out a 41-35 win on the foot of Carson Wiggs.