No.5 Notre Dame (6-0) coming home to play Pittsburgh (3-3) sounds like an easy win, right? We’ll see.
No, I’m not saying or predicting that Notre Dame will lose Saturday against Pitt. The Panthers do not exactly have the football pedigree that Notre Dame does, but all Irish fans know that Pittsburgh always gives Notre Dame a tough game.
I looked into the history between Notre Dame and Pitt, and there are some facts that point to this game being eerily similar to the 2012 game against Pitt.
- Undefeated ND was ranked No.3 and faced a 4-4 Pitt team. Saturday, undefeated Notre Dame will be No.5 and face a 3-3 Pitt team. Both .500 football teams.
- Notre Dame was favored in 2012 to beat Pitt by 18.5 points. Notre Dame is favored to beat the Panthers by a similar three-score spread Saturday.
- 2012’s matchup was played at Notre Dame Stadium, as is 2018’s.
- Pitt had a banged up defense in 2012, as do they in 2018
While a few of those similarities may be coincidental, Pitt should not be a game that the Irish overlook as an easy win. The last time it appeared that Notre Dame over-looked an opponent, Ball State nearly beat them — at home. It could be argued that Notre Dame actually deserved to lose that game, but here we are.
I do realize the beginning of this article sounds very negative, but I will always keep it real. I love Notre Dame as much as any of you, but losing to Pittsburgh, obviously, would be catastrophic.
In my opinion, Pitt appears as a “trap game” on the 2018 Notre Dame schedule because of the difficulty of the schedule thus far.
Notre Dame has had one of, if not the most difficult first six weeks in all of college football. It has knocked off three top-25 teams and has moved all the way to No. 5 in the polls. All has been going fine and dandy thus far, but that’s when upsets occur.
Notre Dame cannot afford to overlook Pitt in the slightest.
This game has scary shades of 2012, as I highlighted above. Notre Dame will need to come out of the gates quickly, as it has all season long, and shut down any chance of an upset, quickly.
Overall, I really do believe in this Irish team and I do not necessarily believe an upset is in-line. However, Pitt thrives on giving Notre Dame a tough game almost annually, and you can bet that this game may end up closer than Vegas predicts. Go Irish.