Notre Dame pretty much kissed its hopes of being in the running for a spot in the College Football Playoff field with last week’s loss to Louisville and now the Fighting Irish look to spoil the title hopes for USC. The college football predictions have the Fighting Irish as the slight favorites.
The Trojans snapped a four-game losing streak to Notre Dame in last year’s win. Notre Dame has won the last five home games against USC.
USC heads into the weekend as one of 14 Football Bowl Subdivision teams still undefeated. Notre Dame had gone five seasons in a row without dropping back-to-back games during the regular season. A loss on Saturday would mark the second season in a row that has happened. Notre Dame’s history is full of memorable home wins against teams that come to South Bend with national title aspirations.
The college football betting lines have the Fighting Irish as the three-point favorite.
Notre Dame is 5-2 as the home favorite since the start of the 2022 season. USC dropped its lone game during the same stretch as the road underdog.
Defensive lineman Korey Foreman, defensive back Domani Jackson (12 tackles, three pass breakups) and receiver Zachariah Branch are questionable for USC. Branch not only has 13 catches, he is sixth nationally in punt return yards.
Notre Dame safety Thomas Harper, who is tied for fourth on the Fighting Irish with 15 solo tackles, is questionable. USC is not the team to be playing with one of your top defensive backs with injury concerns.
USC (+2200) is 11th in the odds to win the national championship. Notre Dame’s title odds have fallen from +2800 to +25000 since the season began.
Hitting the Ground Running
It is pretty clear that for USC to win games, it will be up to its offense to do the heavy lifting.
The defensive issues nearly caught up to the Trojans in last week’s matchup with a mediocre Arizona team before USC escaped with a triple-overtime win.
Now comes a dangerous matchup on the road against a Notre Dame team coming off a loss to Louisville.
Only Colorado allows more rushing yards per game among Pac-12 teams than USC does.
The Trojans have already surrendered 11 running plays of 20 yards or more and now Audric Estime of Notre Dame, the No. 3 rusher in the country, is waiting.
Estime was held to 20 yards on 10 carries in the Louisville loss and has been held under 100 yards in three straight games, all versus ranked opponents.
Look for him to get going against USC even though the Trojans have held their last two opponents under five yards per carry. Notre Dame ran for 204 yards and four touchdowns in last year’s game.
College Football Pick: Notre Dame’s Audric Estime to go over 85 rushing yards (-114)
Footballs to Fill the Air in South Bend
Although they didn’t always play like it last weekend, USC’s Caleb Williams and Sam Hartman of Notre Dame are two of the top quarterbacks in the country.
After five seasons at Wake Forest, Hartman had 16 touchdown passes and three interceptions in his first year at Notre Dame. He is closing in on 15,000 career passing yards.
In 2½ seasons, Williams has 85 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions and 22 scoring runs.
This certainly does not feel like a 10-7 type of game.
While this doesn’t look like your typical Notre Dame team from a talent standpoint, the Notre Dame brand could help Williams in his quest to become the second player to win back-to-back Heisman Trophy Awards if he has a big game.
In 26 career games when Williams has attempted at least 20 passes, he has tossed three touchdowns or more 17 times. Expect that to happen once again on Saturday night.
Williams had just one touchdown pass in last week’s win as he ran for three scores. Look for Williams to use his arm more than his legs to get the Trojans into the end zone this weekend.
Williams has been the Heisman Trophy front-runner all season before falling behind Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. this week. Hartman’s Heisman odds fell to +6500 after throwing more interceptions than touchdown passes for just the fifth time in 55 career games.
While there are a lot of numbers that Heisman Trophy voters will be looking at this week, none will be more important than the ones on the scoreboard. And despite the defensive struggles, expect the Heisman Trophy winner to be returning to California with a win over the Fighting Irish.
College Football Pick: USC’s Caleb Williams to throw at least three touchdown passes (+136)
USC vs Notre Dame Betting Lines
USC vs Notre Dame Game Information
- Game: USC (6-0) vs Notre Dame (5-2)
- Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IND
- Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m. ET
- USC vs Notre Dame Live Stream: ESPN
Is over or under a better value bet in the USC vs Notre Dame game?
The 60½-point line is among the highest among games involving Power-5 conference teams. Still, with these two quarterbacks, going with the over seems to be the smart move.