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Notre Dame-Florida State: Previewing the standalone Sunday game

By Adam Burke  ( 

Notre Dame vs. Florida State preview for Sunday September 5, 2021. Florida State QB McKenzie Milton and Notre Dame QB Jack Coan look to impress in their debuts with new teams.

As the only game in town on our last Sunday without the NFL until February, a lot of attention will be paid to this one with a big betting handle and lots of viewers. The spotlight will be bright for these two teams with the 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff and this looks to be a tone-setting game for the season.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are not playing as a member of the ACC this season, but the men from South Bend will still open up the season against a team from that conference. The Florida State Seminoles would love a win to try and erase some of the pain from three straight losing seasons with a season-opening victory against a marquee opponent.

A lot is on the line for these two teams. Notre Dame needs a win to keep as much margin for error as possible in hopes of returning to the College Football Playoff. Florida State needs a win like this for the sake of the program, as Mike Norvell tries to live up to the expectations placed on him when he was hired to fix the program after Willie Taggart’s 11-14 showing in 2018-19.

Notre Dame is favored by a touchdown in Tallahassee, but money has hit the board on Florida State over the last few days. The total sits at 55.5 for this primetime affair.

The dreaded “OR” is listed on the depth chart for Florida State. Former UCF star McKenzie Milton should return to the field for the first time after one of the most gruesome leg injuries we’ve ever seen. He could split reps with Jordan Travis, who led the Seminoles in pass attempts last year with 131. He led the team in touchdown passes with six, but also interceptions with six.

Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan will get the nod for Notre Dame. A lot of teams have 15 or more returning starters this season with the eligibility provisions put in for the COVID-19 season; Notre Dame has nine. Coan is technically not one, though he does have 18 starts to his name from his days in Madison.

Resources like our Betting Matchups page are a good way to get some information about a game and see if what you have handicapped supports the historical data.

This looks like a game where the defenses should be ahead of the offenses. Travis wasn’t very impressive last season and Milton and Coan are both new to their respective programs. The Fighting Irish have a new defensive coordinator in Marcus Freeman, but he has had all offseason to prepare for this game. As our Notre Dame vs. Florida State trends show, the Irish are 13-2 to the under in their last 15 games with more than six days of rest. Notre Dame is also 11-4 to the under in the last 15 against a non-conference Power 5 team.

A lot of trends point towards the over with Florida State, but the Seminoles have managed fewer than 400 yards per game in three of the last four seasons. This is a stout Irish defense and the Freeman hire could even take that group to another level.

The under seems to be a good look on Sunday night.

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