Now less than 48 hours until the start of the 2023 college football season as Navy takes on No. 13 Notre Dame from Dublin, Ireland in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic on Saturday afternoon on NBC. We wrote previously in this space that the SBIA Model had a heavy lean on over 50.5 points – and if bettors didn’t jump on that then, they may want to wait because that number is down to 49 points at some books likely due to potential weather.
The kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. ET, which is 7:30 in Dublin. It’s going to feel a bit like a fall American night at Aviva Stadium with temperatures expected to drop to the low 50s during the evening and a 75% chance of rain. It’s also likely to rain in the morning before some clearing in the afternoon and then back to rain before kickoff.
It’s the second straight season the college football season has a Week Zero game in Dublin. Last year, the total was set at 52.5 between Northwestern and Nebraska in Big Ten action, and the Wildcats rallied for a 31-28 win. The weather was quite nice then.
Notre Dame’s final seven games of last season landed over the total (including the bowl game), and the #GoIrish have upgraded at quarterback with Sam Hartman, an ACC record-setting transfer from Wake Forest who is among the Heisman Trophy favorites at +1600. The Irish are tied for the most Heisman winners with seven but haven’t had one since receiver Tim Brown in 1987.
The Middies and Irish combined for 67 points last year in Baltimore. The total has gone over in nine of the past 12 in the series. ESPN’s SP+ projects 48 total points scored Saturday. #GoNavy will certainly try to eat as much clock as possible with its triple-option rush attack. The Middies may not attempt even 10 passes.
There is a new rule change this year that will affect totals: The game clock in college football had been stopped after each first down was gained regardless of when in the game it occurred. Now it will continue to run like in the NFL and only stopped after first downs with less than two minutes to play in a half. The NCAA Football Rules Committee projected the new rule will trim seven or eight plays from the average of about 180 per game in 2022.