Notre Dame Fighting Irish at USC Trojans (-7, 62.5 o/u)
Two of the most successful teams in college football history will face off today as the USC Trojans host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during rivalry week (3:30 p.m. Eastern).
Despite their astonishing historical success (the teams claim 11 national titles each), the Irish and Trojans are both having down years. The Irish started strong, winning their first six, but have dropped four of the last five – including three straight – and now sit at 7-4.
The Trojans are also 7-4 and have had a hard time stringing wins together all year, failing to win more than two in a row at any point.
Last weekend, the Irish suffered a tough home loss to a good Louisville Cardinals team (31-28). There are a lot of doubts about the performance of QB Everett Golson, who has committed 20 turnovers in the last eight games, including one pick deep in his own territory last weekend.
On TV, it appeared head coach Brian Kelly may be having some communication problems with his QB, but Kelly shrugged off the suggestion.
“We communicate fine,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “There’s emotion in the game, and I’m a guy that immediately reacts to something. Sometimes you just need about 10 or 15 seconds to let it process.”
USC is coming off a loss to UCLA last week. The Trojans had been mere four-point road dogs to the then-No. 9 Bruins, but they were outplayed in every phase of the game and wound up with a resounding 38-20 loss. The crushing defeat bumped USC from No. 19 to out of the top-25.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian was blunt after the loss to UCLA.
“I know the scoreboard says [38-20],” Sarkisian said Sunday night during a teleconference with reporters. “We didn’t play good [Saturday] night. That’s the bottom line.”
“I feel the same pressure every week … I want to win everything we’re doing, so whether it’s Notre Dame or UCLA or Cal or Stanford, they all mean the same,” added Sarkisian.
The Trojans are expected to bounce back today against a reeling Irish squad, currently sitting as seven-point favorites. Don’t be surprised if their defense – which has managed 12 picks and 20 turnovers, total, on the year – adds to Golson’s woes.
(Photo credit: Neon Tommy [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)