Tim O’Malley (Publisher/Beat Writer):Senior Day 2006: the last time a favored Notre Dame team covered a spread in the 20s, beating 29-point underdog Army while clad in green jerseys, 41-9. The Irish have failed three times since: slipping by a poor San Diego State team in the 2008 opener (21-13 when favored by 21.5); losing outright later that year as 19.5/20-point favorites to Syracuse; and blowing out, but failing to cover the 28-point number last year in San Antonio vs. Washington State (40-14).
As of press time, the Irish were favored by 24 points over the Broncos. Look for Kelly’s squad, led by the appearances of two quarterbacks, three tailbacks, one fullback/h-back, three tight ends, nine offensive linemen, five wide receivers, seven defensive linemen, five outside linebackers, four inside linebackers and eight defensive backs to handle Western Michigan, 41-16.
Jeff Baumhower (Publisher/Recruiting Analyst): This will be the first game Notre Dame will play against a non-BSC team this year. It will be the first team that they should have an advantage over at nearly every position. The Irish haven’t put together a complete game on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball all year…. Against Western Michigan they will. Notre Dame 45 Western Michigan 16
Dave Berk (Scout.com/IrishEyes staff): Western Michigan may be the perfect opponent for the Irish this weekend as they fight through a few injuries as the Broncos are the perfect team to get healthy against. Western Michigan will look to throw the ball around in much the same fashion as the Irish, but the Broncos will find the going tough as Brian Kelly pushes the Irish offense to reach a level yet seen this season. When it is all over, Brian Kelly wins again over Bill Cubit as the Irish post a 37-14 victory
KurzND (Moderator): ND will already be without Kyle Rudolph for the rest of the season, and may be without Armando Allen as well. How lucky for ND that the next three games will not be against BCS competition. ND should win this one easy, but we know how ND has been the past few years. I think Kelly will be on the troops and grind them out and the backups get a bit of playing time. Notre Dame 38 Western Michigan 14
GaviND (Moderator): The irrational side of me says, the Irish invite WMU into South Bend and take their lunch money in a ruthless way, racking up points we have not seen in a decade. That same part of me genuinely thinks a point total in the 50s is possible, however the rational side of me somehow harkens back to Charlie Weis and says, "show me."
This Western Michigan team is clearly the least formidable opponent the Irish have faced in 2010, but ND will also be entering the game without All-American tight end Kyle Rudolph and potentially without do-it-all running back Armando Allen.
Regardless of the point differential, this game can be chalked up in the win category right now and should serve as an excellent step for the offense to get untracked and also get some skill position guys some valuable playing experience.
Keep an eye on Tyler Eifert as he needs to emerge as a valuable commodity down the stretch. I am expecting five catches for the young tight end including his first collegiate touchdown as the Irish roll. ND 38 WMU 17
Weisass (Moderator): Look for the defense to have a big day here because Western Michigan has little to no running game. The defense does need to watch the passing attack as WM seem to have had some momentum in their previous games. I feel that this will be a very good tune up game and a lot of players will get to see action as the Irish prepare for the end of the schedule.
For some reason I see this being a huge day for TJ and the ‘backs as well as Crist. Manti will lead the defense and put a hurting on the WM offense. On the same note we are playing WM so look for the media to pile on that we beat a “Nobody” but fail to mention that when the Ohio States, OU’s and USC’s of the world play these same caliber teams. Look for the Irish to get clicking and running on all cylinders to finish out the season. ND 35 Western Michigan 7
BNolan (Moderator): While we should be 3-0 against that state of Michigan, we will be 1-2. Western Michigan isn't a terrible team, nonetheless this should be a clinic even with what could be some mental deflation over the loss of Rudolph.
With the obvious disclaimers - not beating themselves up via turnovers and bonehead plays, the Irish should cruise. ND 35, WM 17
Morrissey79 (Moderator): ND's offense continues to improve, with Michael Floyd and (the running game) having huge days. The defense does a very nice job of keeping the opponent out of the end zone as well causing multiple turnovers. This will be our most complete game year to date, as the 4th quarter we will see a lot of backups playing and getting good game time experience. Notre Dame 38 Western Michigan 13
SeattleND (Moderator): The Western Michigan Broncos are seemingly allergic to running the ball, with no running back having more than 150 yards on the season so far. If there was any game to play dime all game long for ND it's this one; we'll see how creative Bob Diaco gets against a team that is 23rd in passing offense and 102nd in rushing.
Jordan White averages over 14 yards a catch but oddly, only two other receivers have even double digit receptions on the year, so shutting him down would appear to be a key.
Western crushed Ball State last week, with the help of 3 fumbles and 2 interceptions. But barring even more than five turnovers by the Irish Saturday, this game has no business being close. Notre Dame 49 Western Michigan 9