Picks: Irish will beat Wolverines

Predicting Week 2's biggest games, including ND-Michigan, S. Carolina-UGA

Updated: September 5, 2013, 12:03 PM ET
By Phil Steele | ESPN Insider

Devin Gardner, Tommy ReesGetty ImagesBCS stakes could be on the line when Devin Gardner's Wolverines battle Tommy Rees' Irish.

Each week during the 2013 college football season I will offer up my picks and scores for the biggest games in addition to a handful of other key matchups.

Week 1 is in the books and my picks went 7-2 overall.

While Week 1 offered several high-profile matchups, Week 2 features a handful of highly anticipated games, including nonconference battles, conference showdowns between ranked teams, and several contests that will have an impact on the race for the BCS title.


No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 17 Michigan Wolverines

Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

The marquee game of the week showcases two historic programs in what is the last meeting at the Big House for the immediate future. The last game here, in 2011, was an instant classic as the teams combined for three touchdowns in the final 90 seconds, with Michigan coming out on top 35-31. Last year, it was Notre Dame's turn as former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson had a nightmare performance, accounting for five of the Wolverines' six turnovers in their 13-6 loss.

This year, both teams come in with high expectations and both are coming off relatively easy wins against overmatched foes. The Wolverines demolished Central Michigan 59-9, improving their record to 15-0 at home under coach Brady Hoke. The Irish, on the other hand, appeared to put it in cruise control after an early 14-0 lead that became a 28-6 win over Temple; however, quarterback Tommy Rees did have a career-high 346 passing yards and, more importantly, three touchdowns with no turnovers.

The key matchup could be a relatively inexperienced Michigan offensive line (except for All-American tackle Taylor Lewan) against one of the nation's best defensive lines (led by Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt). Whoever wins that battle up front will go a long way toward determining the outcome of the game.

Phil Steele

ESPN Insider