Happy Thanksgiving Irish Nation!!!
I would caution Irish fans against being too overconfident heading into the final regular season game at USC. I’ve seen some well-intentioned early tweets and other social media posts suggesting that some players, aka (Drue Tranquill) could be rested. I have no response to those posts other than they are insane. I don’t care if USC is 5-6 and seems in disarray, they are still USC. Nothing the Irish did to date matters if they stumble in the Coliseum.
A Brief Look Back at Syracuse
Last week, I was confident the Irish would win if they numbers played out correctly. Though they were admittedly (Brian Kelly) sloppy in the red zone and again had more penalties than Syracuse. They were suffocating on defense and won the turnover battle. 36-3 probably under sold the level of domination that the Irish put forth particularly on defense.
Looking Forward To USC
This week the Irish will play a USC team that is reeling (losers in 4 their last 5 games). USC is also one of the most penalized teams in the nation. USC is ranked in the bottom half of the nation in both scoring defense and scoring offense, They are also near the very bottom in turnover margin (121st out of 129 teams). Finally, USC is ranked in the bottom half of the nation in run defense and near the very bottom in run offense. In summation, USC is seemingly an undisciplined team that struggles to run the ball, struggles to stop the run, and turns it over with regularity.
What about the pulse of the Trojans? Just last week USC Head Coach Clay Helton seemed very positive and seemed to have the support of the USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann. However, an article in Saturday’s Los Angeles Times seemed to suggest the end of the Clay Helton era is imminent. The article also highlighted the undisciplined and lackluster play that I spoke of earlier. The one variable we cannot gather is the mood of players but given what I’ve read, I’m not sure we are going to see a team passionately battling for their coach’s job.
Putting A Bow On The USC Game
All that being said, the Coliseum has been a place for the Irish where dreams have gone to die. 1964, 1970, 1974, 1980, 1996, and 2000 all featured higher ranked Notre Dame teams falling to lower ranked and in some cases unranked USC teams. In 1964 and possibly 1980 those losses cost the Irish National Championships.
The ingredients for the Irish to punch their ticket to the College Football Playoff are very similar to last week’s winning ingredients with the obvious difference being that Notre Dame is on the road. Avoid self-inflicted wounds and immediately jump on a USC team that has seemingly packed it in.
ND at USC 11/24/18
Our picks from the pre-season prognostication.
Jimmy-“USC brings a new QB and a young team. USC brings back 13 starters. It is not in the Fighting Irish’s favor playing in the “Coliseum”. The Irish have had their fair share of heart breaks at USC. ND is 3-7 in the past 10 visits, though Kelly has two of those wins. USC plays at UCLA, that is in ND’s favor. ND just doesn’t do good on the left coast. USC wins 31-30.
George-“PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS!!!! ND win last year was a stunner. USC didn’t know what happened, ND fans were in shock over such a win. This is not the game to lose. This has the potential to be a prime time game. USC wants revenge and wants to right the wrong of last season. ND wins 35-32. A late ND touchdown gets the victory!
The USC game is another prime time game. The game will be on ABC at 8 PM EST.
Cheers and Go Irish!!!