Cal-Notre Dame: Will the Irish avoid a disastrous 0-3 start?

It took just three games for Marcus Freeman to go where no Notre Dame football coach had gone before. It’s a much better way of saying the 36-year-old rookie is 0-3 and already gasping for air in shark-infested waters.

Losing to Oklahoma State in a bowling game was certainly forgivable. Losing to Ohio State in Game 1 of this season was completely understandable. Losing to Marshall last weekend in South Bend? It was almost unimaginable, but here we are.

Whether California (+10½) to Notre Dame (1:30 p.m., Ch. 5, Peacock) suddenly scares Irish fans, imagine how that must feel for the guy with the whistle tightening around his Adam’s apple.

“A reality check,” was how Freeman described the team’s nightmarish start.

Reality? He’s no friend of the Irish, who lost starting quarterback Tyler Buchner for the season in the game against Marshall and are now looking to replacement Drew Pyne. Even at full strength, the offense didn’t seem to be more than modestly able to hold its end of the season deal.

“We’re still very positive and optimistic about our future and following Drew Pyne as the leader of our offense,” Freeman said, “and I’m excited for this opportunity and what he’s going to present to our team. soccer.”

Well, at least someone’s excited.

But the Irish should still be able to handle regular bears, otherwise buckets of pals will splash. Hang your “ND” hat on this if it helps: Outside of Irish rivals Stanford and USC, Pac-12 teams are 1-14 all-time at South Bend and winless since Arizona. in 1982.

Here’s Pyne’s recipe for Saturday: Feed tight end Michael Mayer – the best player on the field – and stay busy not screwing up. A still promising Irish defense can do the rest.

By the way, I’m tying the Bears to three after Cal’s PR staff made a criminal pun by referring to freshman running back Jaydn Ott’s ‘Ott-stant impact’. at the start of the season. Another defeat for Notre-Dame? Not a chance. Irish, 23-10.


Southern Illinois (+13½) northwest (11 a.m., BTN): Nic Baker to Avante Cox — the Salukis’ prolific pass-catch combo — tops the list of what the Wildcats need to be able to overcome. It can also be the only item in the list. If Incarnate Word could snag 64 points in the SIU, the Wildcats should be good for, what, half of that? Cats 32, dogs 14.

Spencer Rattler fired last week in a loss at Arkansas.

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

1 Georgia (-24½) at South Carolina (11 a.m., ESPN): Spencer Rattler — once the No. 1 QB rookie in the country, then a star in Oklahoma, later benched in Oklahoma and now driving the offense for the Gamecocks — returns straight to the marquee s succeeds the mother of all upheavals. Spoiler alert: there’s no shame in staying off Broadway. Chugga chugga, UGA rolls by a not enough 24.

Vanderbilt (+2½) north of Illinois (2:30 p.m., CBSSN): Vandy has eight straight wins over the MAC and has a QB, Mike Wright, with arm and leg lightning. NIU is 1-11 against the SEC — the only victory to come, hilariously, in 2003 at Alabama — but knows she can spin the Commodores’ amateur defense for an hour. Who has the ball last? ‘Dores, 42-41.

No. 22 Penn State (-3) at Auburn (2:30 p.m., Ch. 2): Can the Nittany Lions run the ball? Can dysfunctional Tigers dig deep for elusive mojo? Two programs that know how to spit out winnable games go after them — Nits hang on, 23-21.

No. 11 Michigan State (+3½) at Washington (6:30 p.m., Ch. 7): I still don’t trust Sparty’s defense, which was often appallingly soft last season, and I trust Michael Penix Jr. You remember Penix from his days in Indiana? The slick left QB now plays in Seattle, where the Huskies win 34-28 and howl deep into the night.

My favorite favourite: No. 24 Texas A&M (-5½) vs. No. 13 Miami (8 p.m., ESPN): The Aggies’ stunning loss to Appalachian State in Week 2 called everyone from coach Jimbo Fisher to third-string kicker to the mat. They get physical on a hit-or-get-off-the-pot party and win convincingly.

My favorite outsider: Nebraska (+11) vs. Oklahoma (11 a.m., Fox-32): Who said romance was dead? Huskers…lose by kick.

Last week: 3-5 straight, 4-4 ATS.

Season so far: 10-7 straight, 11-6 ATS.

Helen L. Cuellar