Notre Dame (0-0) at Texas (0-0)
When: Sunday, September 4th 2016
Where: Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
Time: 7:30 ET | TV: ABC
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Texas Longhorns will begin the season against each other for the second consecutive year when they meet Sunday night in Austin, Texas. Notre Dame demolished the Longhorns in 2015 – outgaining them 527-163. Starting that game under center for the Irish was Malik Zaire, who was 19-of-22 for 313 yards and three touchdowns. That was Zaire’s only full game of the season after going down in Week 2 with a fractured ankle. DeShone Kizer came on and ended up throwing 21 TDs and adding another 10 on the ground. They both have battled throughout camp, but head coach Brian Kelly has yet to name a starter. Both are expected to play against Texas. CB Ashton White, RB Dexter Williams, WR Kevin Stepherson and LB Te’von Coney are all on the depth chart and are expected to play while awaiting word on a possible school-imposed suspension related to an arrest last month. Notre Dame fell just short of the BCS Playoffs last season when they lost their season finale at Stanford 38-36.
Texas is coming off a disappointing 5-7 season, but once again dominated the recruiting battle and are ready to come back to prominence. The Longhorns opened up their own competition at quarterback in camp and declared a winner between senior Tyrone Swoopes and freshman Shane Buechele, but they don’t plan on releasing that news until Sunday. Three of Texas’ losses last season were by three points or less. The low point of the season was a 24-0 loss at lowly Iowa State. The Longhorns finished up strong with a 23-17 at Baylor. Texas was eighth in the country in turnover margin last season, but couldn’t seem to capitalize on it as the offense finished 83rd in the country and 117th in passing. Texas has won 15 consecutive home openers, but they will be underdogs here tonight. Charlie Strong enters his third season as head coach and he will at least need to make a Bowl to keep his job, in my opinion.
Texas will be back in the National Title picture soon, but not this year. Notre Dame is loaded and have two excellent quarterbacks. This will be a close game for a half, but the Irish will pull away in the second.
Pick: Notre Dame -3.5