College Football Preview: Notre Dame Need to Stop Navy’s Ricky Dobbs

Al Dannity | Updated Oct 04, 2017

Notre Dame vs. Navy used to be not so much a rivalry as it was a guaranteed W in the ledger for the Fighting Irish. Two Navy wins in the last three years however mean the Midshipmen have every shot of winning this Saturday.

Dobbs will keep it close Notre Dame fans have endured some rough times since Lou Holtz left South Bend. There was the lamentable Bob Davie era. Then came the remarkable recruiting followed by on-the-field mediocrity under Ty Willingham. Order seemed to be restored when Charlie Weis arrived in South Bend but he forgot one important mantra all previous Notre Dame coaches, good and bad, knew well: Just don’t lose to Navy. The Weis era marked the end of Notre Dame’s 43 game winning streak against the Midshipmen. A second defeat to Navy in three years was effectively the final nail in the coffin for Weis.

Brian Kelly knows that any coach with serious intentions of succeeding in South Bend can’t afford to lose this game. Offensively, the Irish should have little difficulty moving the ball. Even with Kyle Rudolph out for the year, Notre Dame still possess a fearsome air attack and that should be ample against a Navy defense which is susceptible to the pass.

The key factor will be Ricky Dobbs. The pre-season Heisman candidate isn’t having a particularly impressive year but he remains a playmaker who can keep the Midshipmen in any game. If Kelly can shut down Dobbs and contain full-back Alexander Teich, then the Irish should have too much firepower for the Midshipmen. Bet on Notre Dame to beat Navy this weekend.

Is it a trap when you’re the underdog? Fresh from the high of beating previous #1 Ohio State at Camp Randall, Wisconsin travel to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. While the Badgers showed tremendous dedication to a simple and powerful game plan last Saturday, it’s tough to see them enjoying the same success in Kinnick Stadium.

For one thing they will be taking on a more dominant defense than Ohio State’s. Iowa have given up just 13.2 points per game. Aside from losing to a quality Arizona team on the road, the Hawkeyes have been dominant all year and it’s tough to see them dropping a decision at home. Iowa have a legitimate shot at making the Rose Bowl this season, particularly now that their offense is much more potent than the 2009 edition.

Finally there is the let-down factor for Wisconsin. College Football betting fans know well that many a conqueror of a #1 team in the past has followed up that high with defeat a week later. The Badgers’ players will be walking around Madison all week with everyone telling them how great they are. That can be quite a big distraction, particularly when only 100 percent focus will do. Look for the Hawkeyes to maintain their focus on Pasadena. Bet on Iowa to win their Big Ten battle with Wisconsin.