Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#199 USC 55 vs.
#200 Notre Dame -10.5
Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 7:30pm EDT
Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend
Written by David Hess

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#199 University of Southern California
#200 University of Notre Dame
3-2
4-1
2-3
4-1
2-3
2-3
29
40
24
14

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College Football action on Saturday evening and the USC Trojans from the Pac-12 Conference will square off with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from the Independent ranks. This contest has a start time of 7:30 pm ET and it will take place at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. These teams met last year and the Irish won that game on the road by a score of 24-17.

The Trojans have been hit by injuries this year, especially at the QB spot, but they have gotten off to a 3-2 start on the year. We do note that they are not playing well at the moment as they have lost two of their last three games and they are 0-2 on the road so far. In their last game, they faced the Washington Huskies on the road and lost that game by a score of 28-14, despite outgaining the huskies by one yard in the contest. The Irish have won the last two in this series. Can the Men Of Troy break the mini-skid? We shall see.

Notre Dame comes in having won their last two games in a row to move to 4-1 on the year. their lone loss was by just six points at Georgia. The Irish still feel that they have a shot at the playoffs. They just have to win out the rest of the way and hope that one of the powerhouses in the nation takes an unexpected fall. This is a game that will help the Irish build their resume. Notre Dame is off a 52-0 pasting of Bowling green at home and they were able to cover the spread of 45 points in the contest. Can Notre Dame build up their resume with an impressive win over the Trojans? That remains to be seen.

Trojans Are Looking For First Road Win

The USC Trojans have been hit hard by injuries in the early going with their biggest loss being QB JT Daniels. He was expected to have a big season, especially with all the talent the Trojans but now he must watch the rest of the season from the sidelines. Kedon Slovis has taken over but he was knocked early in the Utah game and missed their 28-14 loss to the Washington Huskies on the road two weeks ago. Slovis has passed for 732 yards with five TDs so far but he also has four INTs. He is listed as probable for this one and the Trojans will need a big game from him here, but it will not be easy as the Irish have one of the best secondaries in the nation. Notre Dame ranks 17th in the nation against the Pass, allowing just 183.2 ypg so far.

"We're glad to have him back," USC head coach Clay Helton said of Slovis, who has completed 77.9% of his passes for 732 yards and five touchdowns. "I think one of the biggest things for us will be protecting the quarterback."

Safety Talanoa Hufanga and cornerback Olaijah Griffin are also expected back from injuries. Hufanga, who suffered a concussion in their victory over Utah, has been cleared. Griffin left the same game due to back spasms and is considered "close".

The Trojans are at 3-2 on the year and 2-1 within the Pac-12 but they have yet to win a game on the road, so they will be looking for their first road win in this one. USC still has high hopes of making it to the Pac-12 title and they have a shot as the entire league is down. Still they need to get healthy and they also need to improve on the 29.4 ppg they have put up so far, which is 69th in the nation. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (243 yards) and RB Vavae Malepeai (360 yards) are both listed as questionable for this one and that is not good as you need all the weapons in your arsenal if you want to take down the Irish.

In the 28-14 loss to the Huskies, the Trojans actually outgained Washington 375-374 but eight penalties and three INTs cost them dearly. They cannot have those mistakes against the Irish. On defense, the Trojans have allowed just 24.8 ppg, but they are 88th in total yards allowed and 89th against the run and that is not good news as the Irish have piled up 178 yards rushing and 233 yards rushing in the last two week. If the ground game for Notre Dame has success, then Ian Book should be able to pick apart this less than stellar USC secondary. After this game, the Trojans get a bit of a breather with Arizona at home, followed by Colorado on the road.

Fighting Irish Trounce The Falcons

Hey, if SEC teams can schedule a cupcake or two, then so can Notre Dame but I will get to the Falcons in a minute. I will say this about the Irish, at least they never face an FCS team, as SEC teams do every year. If I sound bitter about the SEC, that would be a correct assessment. Would someone please knock off Alabama in that conference? Ok, I've had my SEC rant. Now on to talking about my favorite team, The Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Yes, Notre Dane lost to Georgia, but it was by just six points and on the road and the Close lose could actually keep them in the hunt for the NCAA playoffs. All they have to do is win out and they still have road games against Michigan and Stanford down the road. If the Irish do win out, then they will make it very tough on the committee.

Notre Dame is off a 52-0 trouncing of Bowling green here at home and that allowed them to cover the 45 points that they were favored by. Notre Dame had 35 points at the half and Ian Book had five TD passes in the game. Book threw for 261 yards on 16/20 passing and has now completed 65.5% of his passes for 1254 yards with 13 TDs and just two INTs. He is a dangerous QB and will take aim at a USC pass defense that is 79th in the nation. He is even more dangerous with a running game and the Irish have rushed for 205.5 ypg over their last two games. Tony Jones Jr has taken off as he had 102 yards rushing last week and 131 yards the week before in the win over Virginia. This comes after he rushed for 38 total yards in his previous two games. The Trojans are weak against the run and that means he could have a big game here, which also means that Book should have a good game as well.

The Irish defense struggled some against the run in their first two games of the year, but they have cleaned that up of late. Notre Dame has allowed just 92.0 ypg on the ground over their last three games and USC could very well be without their top RB for this one. If the Trojans can't get their ground game, then Slovis will be under fire from a Notre Dame team that ranks 29th in the nation in sacks per game at 2.8. Making it worse on the trojans is the fact that the Irish possess one of the best defensive backfields in the nation and one that is 17th in the land in passing yards allowed at 183.2 ypg. Notre Dame has plenty of edges in this game, but can they beat their heated rivals from the west coast and keep their playoff hopes alive? You'll have to continue reading to find out.

Best Bets for this Game

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No, this is not a homer pick. I truly feel that the Irish will win this one rather easily. The Trojans are off this year. Yes, they are 2-1 in the Pac-12, but that isn't saying much as the Pac-12 may be weaker than the American Athletic Conference this year. The Trojans will have Slovis back for this one, but he is nothing special and the Notre Dame secondary is one of the best in the nation.

This is a very important game for the Irish as they are trying to build up their resume to impress the committee, should they run the table the rest of the way. Notre Dame needs a big win in this game even if they are playing a team from a rather weak conference. The Name USC still means something and a two TD win would go a long way in helping the Irish impress some people. Notre Dame has their running game going and Ian Book has had a solid season so far while the Trojans have been less than stellar on defense thus far. The Irish need to win this game big and they have all the tools to do so over a USC team that has yet to win a game on the road this year. Lastly, the home team is 6-0 ATS in the last six games in this series.

Prediction: Notre Dame -11

Full-Game Total Pick

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The USC offense has not been great this year and while they have Kedon Slovis back they are facing a Notre Dame team that is 17th in the nation against the pass. The Notre Dame run defense has been stout of late as they have allowed just 92 ypg on the ground over their last three games. This is a tough defense that has playmakers in all three-levels and they will hold the Trojan offense in check.

The Notre Dame offense is good and the Trojans have been below average on offense, but still, the Irish have been running the ball more of late and that will eat up plenty of the clock. Notre Dame will not hit 40 in this game, which would be what is needed to put the game over the total I see the Irish winning this one 35-20, Just like they did against Virginia. The Under is 4-1 in USC's last five vs. a team with a winning record and 19-7 in Notre Dame's last 26 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game and that seals the deal for me.

Prediction: Under 59
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Written By David Hess

David has always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so he combined the two to become a handicapper and a writer for us here at Winners & Whiners, along with StatSalt. All the information that David puts in his articles are well-researched and his predictions are well-thought out. He is a big fan of all the major pro sports and the colleges making David a very versatile and a constantly winning handicapper. David has been writing for the past 10 years and has been handicapping for over 20 years. He will help you beat the Man, so be sure and follow along.