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USC vs Notre Dame Odds and Analysis
Irish Looks for HUGE Upset
Notre Dame came into this season with the highest expectations it has had in
a long time. You even had people like Lou Holtz picking them to play Florida in
the National Title game. Much of that had to do with the weakness of their
schedule, but make no mistakes this is a very talented Notre Dame team.
Their lone loss came at the hands of Michigan in a game that they had every chance to win. That loss might have cost them a chance at the National Title, but all is not lost. Notre Dame needs to prove to the rest of the country that they are on their way back up to the top under Coach Charlie Weis, and what better way to prove that than to beat their rival USC?
The only problem is Notre Dame has had more than a little trouble getting the job done against their bitter rival. USC started this season like they have done most of their seasons the past several years. They lost to an unranked Pac 10 opponent. This year it was Washington who was able to knock the mighty men of Troy off their undefeated season. We are willing to give USC a get out of jail free card for that effort against Washington. They were coming off an emotional victory over Ohio State in the horse shoe, and this was the same Washington team that didnít win a single game last year. Not to mention that was the only game that USC has been without their starting QB Matt Barkley.
Ever since that loss USC has looked like the USC of old including a dominant 30-3 beating of their cross town rival California. USCís National Title bubble has not yet been completely popped, but they need to close out this year with a bang, so a big win over a very good Notre Dame team is a must.
The USC defense hasnít missed a beat this year after losing several starters to the NFL last year including their whole Linebacker group which included Rey Maualuga, Clay Matthews, and Brian Cushing. They are #1 in the Pac 10 in scoring defense allowing just 9 points per game, and are #2 in the Pac 10 in rush defense allowing just 65 yards per game.
The one weakness in their defense is their pass defense. They are #4 in the Pac 10 allowing 174 yards per game. This secondary is still pretty strong, but with this defense it comes down to having to pick your poison, and with Notre Dame being ranked 8th nationally in passing yards per game averaging 333 yards per game you can bet Notre Dame is going to continue to throw the ball around.
Jimmy Clausen has been bothered with a toe injury, but it hasnít kept him off the field much. This toe injury has hurt him a little with his velocity when stepping into his throws, which is not something you want when you are going up against a secondary as fast as USCís. Good news for the Fighting Irish is he looked much better last week against Washington going 23/31 for 422 yards 2 TD and 1 INT.
Clausen is really going to have to be on his best against this USC defense, because they are very fast and very disciplined. With WR Michael Floyd out with an injury WR Golden Tate is going to have to have a very big game and make Clausenís job easier by getting open deep into the secondary.
THE FINAL VERDICT
USC knows that anytime they go on the road they are going to get the opposing teams best shot with them being so successful over the past several years. South Bend will be rocking this Saturday, because these Notre Dame fans understand the importance of what a win over USC can do for their team.
We expect QB Jimmy Clausen to have the green light to throw the ball around and try to test this USC secondary vertically. Coach Charlie Weis has been on the hot seat this whole year, and you know his players are going to want to go out and win this one for their coach. The one problem is they are catching a USC team that is playing with a purpose, because they know if they are going to make it into the National Title game they are going to have to win out and win impressively.
USC just has too many athletes and RB Joe Mcknight is really starting to play to his potential. We expect Notre Dame to keep it close for a while because of it being at home and their fans will be ready to roll, but this USC team is just playing too good now, and if QB Matt Barkley can handle his first road game in The Horseshoe against Ohio State he can handle this game in South Bend.
In emotionally charged games like this it's always a good idea to take a look at playing the underdog in the 1st quarter and or the 1st half. Particularly the 1st quarter. You can never underestimate the power of adrenaline in games like this. Early touchdown passes, early fumbles, kick run backs, happens all the time. Eventually, the matchups take over the the better team becomes obvious, but early on it can be a crap shoot. With that in mind, we'll make plays on Notre Dame +3 1st quarter, Notre Dame +6 1st half and USC -10 for the game.
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