This weekend's marquee matchups will see the No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish pitted against the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes on the road. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday on ABC/ESPN App.
Each of these teams has exceeded expectations so far this season, particularly the Hurricanes. Despite their undefeated record, Miami (8-0) isn't favored in their Saturday matchup. ESPN's FPI gives Notre Dame (8-1) a 61 percent chance to win.
Saturday will mark the first time in 27 years that these teams play each other while they're both ranked in the AP Poll. In 1990, No. 6 Notre Dame beat No. 2 Miami in South Bend.
Miami is hot right now
The Canes enter the weekend with the nation’s longest active win streak at 13 games. The milestone marks the program’s longest win streak since a 34-game run from 2000-02 (this includes their undefeated, BCS Championship season in 2001). Coincidentally, the last team to beat Miami was Notre Dame last season.
Even if their streak gets broken on Saturday, there's still some good that could come out of the weekend for the Canes. Since joining the ACC in 2004, Miami has not won a Coastal Division title; however, Miami would seal a spot in the ACC Championship Game with a Virginia loss at Louisville on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU).
Perhaps one aspect of Miami's success this year can be attributed to the success of players coming off the bench. It has been four games since the Hurricanes' starting running back Mark Walton suffered a season-ending ankle injury, but in that time backup running back Travis Homer has averaged 100.0 rush yards per game and three touchdowns in Walton's place. That includes 95 yards and a career-long 64-yard rushing score last week against Virginia Tech.
Big names for Notre Dame: Josh Adams and Coach Brian Kelly
Notre Dame running back Josh Adams currently has the third-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy (8-1). Adams is averaging 8.7 yards per carry this season, third-most in the FBS and could break the school record of 8.1 set by George "The Gipper" Gipp in 1920.
Saturday marks a big day for Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly, as the matchup is his 100th game at the helm for Notre Dame. Kelly will be the fifth Irish head coach to reach the 100-game mark, joining College Football Hall of Famers Lou Holtz, Ara Parseghian, Frank Leahy and Knute Rockne.
A game of turnovers
Miami debuted its “turnover chain” on Sept. 2 against Bethune-Cookman and it has paid off so far. The Canes lead the ACC in turnovers and are tied for 10th nationally with 20 takeaways this season.
That being said, Notre Dame is tied for the fifth-fewest turnovers in the FBS (seven). When each team's strengths are pitted against each other on Saturday, it will be interesting to see which side prevails.
A family affair
Miami defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh will face off against his younger brother, Notre Dame running back Deon McIntosh on Saturday. R.J. was recently named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance against North Carolina. Coincidentally, Deon’s best game came several weeks earlier against the Tar Heels when he ran for 124 yards and two scores and was awarded the game ball.
Saturday's game could have serious playoff implications, as the winner will have more than a 50 percent chance to finish in the top four in strength of record. This fact shouldn't be taken lightly, as 11 of the 12 College Football Playoff participants to date had strengths of record that ranked among the nation’s top four.