Game three of the Wisconsin Badgers football schedule features one of the bigger non-conference games in recent program history. The Badgers will make the quick jaunt south to Soldier Field in Chicago and take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in what many are calling the Barry Alvarez Bowl.
#Badgers coach Paul Chryst was asked earlier how the UW-Notre Dame games came to be. He said: Barry Alvarez wanted us to play Notre Dame so we are.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) July 23, 2021
Today, in our ongoing series of football opponent Q&As, we welcome Joshua Vowles, the editor of SB Nation’s Notre Dame blog, One Foot Down. Here he talks about how big non-conference neutral site games are dumb which I think is something a lot of our fan base can get behind since going to see a game in South Bend, one of (maybe the top) college football’s most historic spots, is probably more appealing than going to Chicago.
So, let’s get the Fighting Irish view of the Shamrock Series showdown in the Windy City ft. Jack Coan!
Who is your player to watch on offense?
The Sicilian blood in me really wants to lay it all out for Jack Coan via vendetta, but I feel that I need to be a little more practical here. You’ve already seen Jack up close and personal, so let me tell you the tale of Bellyman A.K.A. running back Kyren Williams.
Last season. Williams rushed for over 1100 yards and scored 13 times on the ground, which is all pretty awesome and excellent production - but it was everything else that he provided on top of his ground game production that made him so valuable. He added another 313 yards and a touchdown receiving the ball, and was so fierce in pass protection they wrote songs about him from here to Asgard.
Who is your player to watch on defense?
Again, there is expectation of one name (Kyle Hamilton) but I am here to give you another. Defensive end Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa is going to be a handful for anyone lined up across from him. MTA has played defensive tackle for his entire career at Notre Dame, but made a move outside during the offseason after sculpting his body to a leaner form.
All throughout spring ball, MTA stood out as an explosive force off the edge. He looks so different that despite him being at Notre Dame since 2017, I found myself quickly looking at the roster to figure out who #95 was - like duh.
Why will Notre Dame beat Wisconsin this year?
I have a healthy amount of respect for the Wisconsin program so I don’t want this answer to be perceived as dismissive...but Notre Dame is much more talented top to bottom. Notre Dame is built to both play a power game and stop a power game, which sounds like a play into the brawl with the Badgers. The big difference is that the pure athletes on both sides of the ball will provide too much speed and explosion for Wisconsin to match.
We still need to see both teams take a snap this year before we can have a proper sizing up - but the Irish will be just a little too much on that day in Chicago. 31-17 sounds about right. Y’all should be pretty pumped. 17 points is only a field goal short of the combined Badger total against the three game stretch of Iowa, Northwestern, and Indiana in 2020. (Editor’s note: I’m trying to delete this!)
God, isn’t USC just the worst?
The worst? No, no, no...they are magnificent with the mighty Clay Helton at the helm. The best thing USC can do is to make sure Helton remains head coach for a very long time.
(Stop sniffing around with these questions about USC before you ruin it for everybody!)