Check out the Notre Dame vs. USC fearless prediction and game preview.
Notre Dame (4-7) vs. USC (8-3) Game Preview
Date: Saturday, Nov. 26
Game Time: 3:30 pm
Venue: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
Bowl and Conference Implications
Notre Dame has the potential to still go bowling with a win. It would need several bowls to be open with no 6-6 teams available, and then hope to be high enough on the Academic Progress Report pecking order.
USC – ranked 12th in the latest College Football Playoff rankings – can get get to the Pac-12 Championship with a Utah win over Colorado. Win that, and it’ll be in the Rose Bowl. A win over Notre Dame could still mean a trip to Pasadena with a loss in the Pac-12 title game.
What’s Going To Happen?
Normally, this is a momentum rivalry, with the team that’s hot at the time staying that way.
It might have lost a little luster over the years, but on a national scale it’s still as big a non-conference game as it gets, and it’s still a measuring stick for each superpower program.
Win this – no matter how the other team is doing – and everything might seem okay, especially at the end of the year.
But nothing is okay right now for the Fighting Irish, sputtering and coughing their way through a strange season that could’ve been a whole lot better. Adding insults to more insults – and a few injuries – they’re embroiled in an academic scandal a few years in the making.
This could’ve been so much different.
Had the Irish had the type of team that could close out games – or come through in the clutch – it would’ve beaten Texas, Duke, NC State, Stanford, Navy and Virginia Tech, and it would’ve been deep in the hunt for something big. While that’s a huge assumption, and it did step it up late in a win over Miami, past Brian Kelly teams were able to win game after game in thrilling, close fashion.
As last week’s collapse against Virginia Tech showed in a 34-31 loss, this team can’t do that.
The polar opposite in terms of momentum is a USC team that’s become everyone’s darling, winning seven straight and enjoying the world that’s singing its praises for a dominant run.
Not only are the Trojans rolling, but along with a win over now-No. 5 Washington, they’re cranking through everyone, winning their last five games by double-digits in each.
Beating Notre Dame would keep hopes for a ten-win season alive, and considering the ugly 1-3 start, that would be terrific.
It would be even better if Sam Darnold could make a big case for the 2017 Heisman with yet another big performance.
Notre Dame’s secondary is statistically strong, but that’ only because it faced Navy, Army, and in a hurricane, NC State. It was ripped up by just about everyone else, including Virginia Tech’s Jerod Evans, who last week couldn’t seem to miss in the comeback win.
Darnold will fumble, and he’ll turn the ball over too often – he has four picks in the last two weeks – but he’ll also utilize all the talent around him for a passing game that’s ripped off 230 yards or more in every game he’s started.
While he’s got a bright future, this might be it for DeShone Kizer.
Depending on which way the win blows, either he’s the NFL’s next great quarterback prospect, or he’s tumbling out of the first round as as all his tools and talents aren’t leading the way to wins.
Beat USC and look okay doing it, and all of a sudden his stock will bounce back up again, even through he’s thrown ten touchdown passes and just one pick in the last four games – the problems aren’t his fault.
But as good as Kizer really is, the USC defense is playing at a whole other level, to go along with an offense that’s explosive, confident, and when it gets on a roll, unstoppable.
Notre Dame will hang around for a half, and then it’ll be Notre Dame again and failing in the clutch.
USC will overcome a few big early mistakes with a sharp third quarter to take control of the game, making the fourth quarter more of a coronation.
If you loved USC before this week – and many do – that’ll only grow after yet another double-digit win.
Notre Dame vs. USC Prediction
USC 38, Notre Dame 20
USC -17, o/u: 57
ATS Confidence: 5: Store bought anything – 1: Homemade anything … 2
Must See Rating: 5: NFL kickers attempting extra points – 1: Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love … 4