The 6-1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish go to Philadelphia for this primetime matchup against the 7-0 Temple Owls. The Irish come into this game after a bye week ranked ninth in the country. The Owls come into this game coming off a 24-14 win at East Carolina last week. The Owls are the 21st ranked team in the country coming into this game. This is probably the biggest game in Temple Owls history, and College Gameday will be there in Philly.
This is the biggest game of the season thus far for both teams as a two-loss Notre Dame would have virtually no chance of making the playoff or even a New Years Six bowl, and would therefore be relegated to a much poorer bowl. With a loss in this game, the Owls would probably drop out of the top 25 entirely, and get a very poor bowl. A somewhat interesting statistic is that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 15-0 when playing on Halloween.
These two teams have only played once prior, in 2013. The Fighting Irish won that matchup at Notre Dame Stadium, beating up on the Owls 28-6. That loss for the Owls was one of 10 on the season in current head coach Matt Rhule’s first season at the helm.
The keys for Notre Dame in this game is to not underestimate the Owls and to start the game fast. The Temple Owls are not a historic football program by any stretch of the imagination. The Fighting Irish can’t underestimate the American Athletic East conference leaders who are 7-0 at this point and a very good football team, even without being ranked very high or having lots of football history. They have to start fast in this one and get the crowd, which undoubtedly will be boisterous early on. They need to completely shut down the Owls from the get go.
The player to watch for Notre Dame is quarterback DeShone Kizer, who is coming into this game having played pretty well in his time as the starter after the Malik Zaire injury in week two. In Zaire’s absence, he has gone 5-1, which has boded well for the Irish.
Notre Dame is coming off a bye week and according to Brian Kelly, Kizer was “running on fumes” prior to the bye week. That bye week was a much needed break for Kizer as the meat of the season starts this weekend. This is what counts these next few weeks on the road to a potential playoff berth. Kizer is a sophomore and needs to turn it into high gear if Notre Dame has a chance to get where they want to go.
Notre Dame is arguably in a situation where they have everything to lose compared to Temple who has very little to lose as they are playing with house money.
If Temple wins, it’s a signature win for the program, everyone celebrates in Philly and they move up a ton of spots in the rankings, possibly improving their chances to obtain a good bowl. If Temple loses, however, they drop a spot or two in the rankings and wouldn't be a surprise because very few people expect them to win this game and they still make a bowl game.
If Notre Dame loses, however, they drop a ton of spots in the rankings and get scrutinized on every single sports channel for a long time, no longer having a chance to make the playoff or a New Years Six Bowl. If Notre Dame wins, the world goes on like it always does, the Fighting Irish move up a few spots, inching closer to the playoff, and everything is fine because Notre Dame lived up to expectations and continues their quest to win out and go to the College Football Playoff.