The newest No. 1 team in the land, 11-0 Notre Dame, heads West for one of its great rivalry games vs. 7-4 USC at the Coliseum Saturday night (8 pm ET, ABC).
The Irish are one win away from playing in the BCS title game, while the Trojans will be without injured QB Matt Barkley. Regardless, Notre Dame faces a team that has beaten them 9 of the past 10 meetings.
The Irish are 2-6 SU and ATS here since 1996.
No line had been set early in the week (*editor note, GTbets had it at -6.5 as of mid-week), but watch for updates shortly.
Power Rankings / Prediction: This game matches up the No. 43 (Trojans) and the No. 3 (Fighting Irish) teams in the league, according to our current NCAAF Power Rankings at OddsShark. A 42-36 result in favor of the Fighting Irish is predicted by handicapping models.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish can singlehandedly stamp their ticket to the BCS National Championship Game this weekend. All they have to do is get past the Pac-12 program that countless experts had deemed the preseason No. 1. Weigh in on college football futures as the NCAA season hits its final stretch.
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According to NCAA oddsmakers, the Irish sit second in the nation with 2/1 odds of winning the 2012-13 BCS title – conveniently they sit first in the national standings. As such, a win in Week 13 would guarantee them a chance against either Alabama or Georgia in the National Championship.
The USC Trojans, in contrast, have experienced a distinctly opposite trend, and the college football betting community has taken notice.
After starting at the top of their conference, and even the country, the Trojans came up short four times against Pac-12 opponents. Needless to say, their title hopes have been dashed, their chances of even contending in their conference obliterated and their NCAA odds at a frightening low.
An underwhelming campaign, however, might not keep them from playing spoilers under the spotlight of an elite matchup in their season finale. Should the Trojans beat the Irish, an unlikely but not impossible task without starting quarterback Matt Barkley, the hordes in South Bend would go without an appearance in the big game altogether. (In which case, either Florida or Oregon will take ND’s place against either of the two aforementioned SEC juggernauts).
How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Southern Cal's No. 26-ranked offense (36.1 PPG) against a Fighting Irish defense that ranks No. 1 at 10.1 PPG. The Trojans passing attack has averaged 307 yards per game, more than the Fighting Irish give up through the air (195.2 YPG on average).
Defensively, the Fighting Irish feature the league's No. 1-rated road run defense, allowing 66.8 yards per game. Southern Cal, meanwhile, ranks No. 70 in rushing offense at home.
Notre Dame won its last outing, a 38-0 result against Wake Forest on November 17. Notre Dame covered in that game as a 23.5-point favorite, while the 38 combined points took the game UNDER the total. Everett Golson led the way last time out for the Fighting Irish, connecting for 346 passing yards and a 38-0 victory over the Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium.
Southern Cal was a 38-28 loser in their most recent outing on the road against UCLA. They failed to cover the 4-point spread as favorites, while the total score (66) made winners of OVER bettors. In Southern Cal's last outing, Matt Barkley threw for 301 yards in a losing cause against the Bruins, 38-28 at Rose Bowl.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Trends:
When playing in November are 9-1
When playing on grass are 10-0
After outgaining opponent are 9-1
When playing outside the conference are 9-1
Southern Cal Trojans Trends:
When playing in November are 6-4
When playing on grass are 6-4
After outgaining opponent are 6-4
When playing outside the conference are 9-1
A few Fighting Irish at Trojans trends to consider:
Notre Dame is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Notre Dame's last 10 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Notre Dame's last 6 games on the road
Notre Dame is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Southern Cal is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games when playing Notre Dame
Southern Cal is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Southern Cal's last 7 games at home
Southern Cal is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Notre Dame