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For a bowl game being played Christmas Eve night, matching two teams totaling a dozen defeats, this contest has gotten a fair amount of buzz.



2008-12-24

For a bowl game being played Christmas Eve night, matching two teams totaling a dozen defeats, this contest has gotten a fair amount of buzz. This bowl game will either symbolize a dawning of a new era for Charlie Weis and Notre Dame or start the slow dance ritual of sorry Charlie being shown the door in about 11 months.

It has been well documented Notre Dame (6-6 SU and ATS) has not won a bowl since 1994 Cotton Bowl (0-9, 1-8 ATS) and they will be the only team having to play a true road game this bowl season in Hawaii. After showing early promise, the Irish had no fight late in the season, especially in the fourth quarter, losing three double digit leads among the half dozen losses they ended up with.

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen has to be thrilled to have freshman Michael Floyd back at receiver, giving the Irish passing game more balance, with opposing teams not able to double Golden Tate as frequently. His absence was magnified in losses to Syracuse and USC, with no alternative once the running game was taken away again. Notre Dame is 4-13 ATS after a loss by 21 or more points.

The Hawaii football program was more quickly forgotten after the Sugar Bowl debacle than the group Jimmy Eat World. The departure of June Jones disrupted everything and coach Greg McMackin was brought in to reassemble what was left. After losing three of first four games, the Warriors (7-6, 6-5-1 ATS) started to come together when WAC play opened, playing towards their strength of throwing the ball with starting quarterback Greg Alexander, instead of attempting a more balanced attack.

The results paid off as Hawaii improved as the season progressed, posting a 4-2 SU and ATS mark to finish 2008 campaign. They almost won four in a row to close the season, before Orange Bowl bound Cincinnati stormed back from double digits to win. The Warriors are 6-0 ATS after two consecutive games with a turnover margin of +1 or better.

This might end up being one of the biggest turnaround bowl wagers this season. Hawaii opened up as 2.5-point favorites and as kickoff approaches, Sportsbook.com has them posted as two-point home underdogs with total of 46. Given the Irish's sorry bowl history and playing on the road, it's a bit confusing the line has turned this much, seeing the Warriors have won last 21 of 24 at Aloha Stadium.

Hawaii has played mostly at home going bowling and is overall is 5-3 and 4-4 ATS after the regular season. In this bowl, they are 4-1 and 3-2 ATS in last five contests. Oddsmakers and bettors are ignoring history in this bowl, with typical total of 60.5. The OVER is 11-2 since 1995.

ESPN will carry this matchup at 8 Eastern, in what should be a very spirited affair for both teams.

Sportsbook.com Line Notre Dame -3, 46
StatFox Power Line Pick
StatFox Matt Notre Dame and UNDER


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