Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. USC Trojans (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date and Time: Saturday, November 29, 3:30pm EST
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Los Angeles, CA
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ND +7/USC -7
Over/Under Total: 62.5
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Saturday at 3:30pm, Fox will be broadcasting the 86th meeting between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the USC Trojans. These two teams first met on December 4, 1926 with the Irish coming away with a 13-12 victory. Over the years, this game has becomes of the most storied rivalries in college football. The Irish lead the all-time series 45-34-5, but USC has taken nine of the last twelve meetings. Many times, this game features one and sometimes two highly ranked teams, however, this season, it is a battle of two unranked foes. The USC Trojans will open as the seven point home favorite, and the total points are set at 62.5 points combined.
Notre Dame for many weeks this season was considered among the nation’s best. Even after a heartbreaking, controversial loss to Florida State, the Irish were still heralded by many and had a shot to get themselves back in position for a playoff run. However, the Irish are now on a three game losing streak and they are looking worse and worse each week. The Notre Dame defense has become almost non-existent. They have allowed 27 or more points in all of their last five games, and three of those include them giving up 43, 55, and 39 points. This defense is bad….really bad. On the offensive side of the ball, the Irish are scoring points, but costly turnovers are killing momentum in many of these losses. Everett Golson still has the Notre Dame passing game ranked in the top 20 of the FBS, but that alone is not going to win games. If Notre Dame has any desire to get back on the winning track and to stop the bleeding this season, they are going to have to play a complete game. There is no way Notre Dame can turn the ball over and give USC easy scoring opportunities if they want to win this game, or at least keep it competitive.
USC is slowly getting themselves back on the winning track. They have not competed for a Pac-12 title for a few years now, but I do believe they will be back on top in the next couple of years. The Trojans do not really excel in any area but they tend to step up and play in big games. They have already beat Stanford and Arizona who were both ranked top 15 when they faced off. Just this past week, USC had a chance to take down a top ten team in UCLA, and although they came out and played well early, eventually UCLA took control and won 38-20. The Trojans offense is led by junior quarterback, Cody Kessler. Kessler in 2014, has passed for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Not only has he thrown for 30 TDs, but he has only thrown 4 interceptions. This kid can play. If USC plans on getting this win over Notre Dame, which would be their first one in three seasons, Kessler and the Trojans offense need to score early. Notre Dame has appeared to have become a very fragile team. I think I may have used those exact words in an article from last week when I predicted Notre Dame would lose to Louisville. I do not trust Notre Dame, but I am not high on USC either. Again, if the USC offense clicks early, it could be a very good day for the Trojans.
At this time, 59% of the action is on USC to cover this touchdown spread at home. I see this game being a very competitive contest all the way into the fourth quarter. Against the spread this year, both teams are fairly similar. Notre Dame is 5-6 against the spread, while USC sits at 6-5.
Like I was saying earlier, neither of teams really have my full confidence, but Notre Dame has completely fallen apart. I think the Irish come into LA and get completely drilled by the USC Trojans. I predict USC wins this game by two scores and it is never really competitive. USC will take down the Irish something like 27-17 in this one.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE USC TROJANS -7!