Is being favored a good thing?


The Wall Street Journal took the time to talk about how the unexpected has always seemingly conquered in the Notre Dame-Michigan series. I’m not sure if this makes me feel better or worse about the Irish being a three-point favorite on Saturday, as I thought the line would be closer to a touchdown for the Irish.

One of the most unpredictable rivalries in college football is Notre
Dame-Michigan. It’s so unpredictable it’s actually predictable: Expect
the favorite to struggle. Over the last 20 matchups, the favorite in
the Notre Dame-Michigan game is 8-11-1. Against the point spread, the
favorite is 3-17, meaning it failed to win by the margin set by Las
Vegas oddsmakers almost every time. By contrast, the favorite in the
Florida-Florida State game has won 16 of the last 20, covering the
spread 14 times.

The Journal points the finger mostly at Michigan, since they have been favored in 14 of the last 20 games against Notre Dame. (That’s an incredible stat…)

Just for fun, here’s to looking back at the last ten years of games, with some quick thoughts on what happened.

2008: ND 35, UM 17: The Irish jumped on Michigan early, but the game got a little too close for comfort, until six Wolverines turnovers finally killed the Maize and blue.

2007: UM 38, ND 0: A dirty, dirty, dirty shellacking. Not much else to say.

2006: UM 47, ND 21: An especially bitter pill to swallow. We made an epic 283-mile dash to the Mandalay sportsbook for an epic day of football games. The opening series said it all: Quinn incomplete to Samardzija. Quinn pick six by Prescott Burgess… Away we go. The taunting from the bachelor party dressed in matching Michigan jerseys was enough to make you wish that beer bottle throwing was an Olympic sport.

2005: ND 17, UM 10: Pure joy. This was one of those games where you had that sneaking suspicion the boys could pull it off, and Michigan fans never even saw it coming. I can still picture the look on my Michigan buddy as he was nearly in tears after Chad Henne fumbled the ball away on the ND one-yard-line.

2004: ND 28, UM 20: After getting shocked by BYU 20-17, the Irish once again upset Michigan. Then coach Ty Willingham uttered a bizarre line when he admitted that many people expected his team to start 1-1, they just had the games backwards.

2003: UM 38, ND 0: Ugh, ugh, ugh. The first of the 38-0 defeats. Wasn’t one enough?

2002: ND 25, UM 23: Another huge knockoff win for the Irish. Remember how good Shane Walton was? That team had some black magic voodoo going…

1999: UM 26, ND 22: A year after shocking the defending National Champs, the Irish lost to some a heartbreaker to a young skinny punk named Tom Brady, who was fighting to keep his job against Drew Henson. (Leave it to Michigan to almost screw up Tom Brady…) The Irish still could’ve won this one if they handled their timeouts better.