The USC Trojans are on the cusp of the College Football Playoff but they will need a boost to break through and could get it this coming Saturday when they battle Notre Dame.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. USC Trojans
Saturday, November 26, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Fighting Irish Not Taking Anything for Granted
The Fighting Irish raced five spots up the ladder to land as the 13th-ranked team in the nation after a sound 44-0 shutout of Boston College last week. Notre Dame cornerback Benjamin Morrison had three picks on the afternoon while Notre Dame quarterback Drew Payne had only one passing touchdown and was 13-of-25 for 156 yards.
The Irish employed a thundering rushing attack that steamrolled the Eagles as Logan Diggs led with 122 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. When the dust settled, the Irish delivered 281 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman was hoping his team wouldn’t relapse into taking a weak team for granted at home as they did in losses to Marshall and Stanford earlier this season in which the Irish were favored by 20 and 16 ½ points, respectively.
"Great teams are able to play to a standard. Great individuals are able to play to a standard, not to opponent," Freeman said. "Competitors rise to the level of their opponent. To me, great teams, championship teams, set the standard."
Trojans Face Stern Test
Being ranked No. 5 in the nation will get a team to a major bowl game but it won’t get them to the CFP, as that distinction is reserved exclusively for the top four teams in the nation.
USC is that team but a big win over a nationally ranked powerhouse like No. 13 Notre Dame will only help them leapfrog at least one of the schools in front of them before they vie for the Pac-12 title.
When the Trojans last took the field, the California betting sites installed them as 2-point road favorites over archrival UCLA. After falling behind, 14-0, in the opening quarter, USC put their foot on the gas pedal and crawled back, trailing 21-20, at the half.
Caleb Williams launched for 470 passing yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception while senior tailback, Austin Jones, chewed up 120 of the team’s 179 rushing yards and made two trips to the end zone in USC’s 48-45 victory.
- Fighting Irish are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games on grass.
- Fighting Irish are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Fighting Irish are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Trojans are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
Notre Dame vs. USC: Game Prediction
This should be a competitive game with CFP ramifications for the Trojans. The Irish are here to prove they belong and that their early losses to much weaker teams were more a lack of maturity rather than an indication they are not who they claim to be without former head coach Brian Kelly at the helm. It’s also an ideal opportunity for the Irish to get some serious street cred and play the role of the spoiler.
Let’s not forget, USC is coming off of a huge victory last week, and as important as this game is to them, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a slight letdown. Nevertheless, they bring an extremely talented offense to the table, ranked 4th in passing yards, 2nd in total yards, and 3rd in points scored, averaging nearly 43 points per game.
However, Notre Dame should be able to keep USC’s offense somewhat in check as they enter this matchup ranked 16th against the pass, 17th in total yards allowed, and 29th in points against, surrendering 20.3 points per game.
On the flip side, Notre Dame is run-heavy as they average 191.2 rushing yards per game (36th) against the Trojans’ 66th-ranked run-stop unit. If Notre Dame decides to inject more passing into their game plan they can do so with the knowledge that USC is not stout in that regard, ranked 105th surrendering nearly 258 passing yards per game.
Unfortunately, we are already a little bit late to the party as USC has slipped from a 6-point favorite to as low as -5 at many of the best sportsbooks. However, we can still get the Irish at +5 ½ if we shop around. If Notre Dame covers, which I believe they will, then look for this game to go low.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.