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Notre Dame Football: What You Need To Know About The USC Trojans

First of all ... it's pronounced "Southern Cal"

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The college football season is rapidly approaching and we are just getting more and more impatient. So much so, that things slip through the cracks (this preview series for opponents of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish example).

Instead of filling your head with too much information, we offer you these choice nuggets to contemplate. If you need an in-depth preview of the USC Trojans, please check out Bill Connelly's excellent work.

Southern Cal

The Trojans are everyone's little darling this offseason. USC rattled off nine wins to end the 2016 season, including a 45-27 beatdown of the Irish in Los Angeles.

5 Things You Have To Know.

  1. Quarterback Sam Darnold is really good — like really good. He's the Heisman front-runner without even playing a snap yet. The funny thing is that Darnold was a very mortal 19-29 for 205 yards and 2 TDs against Notre Dame last year. It wasn't the normal USC QB victory feast over the Irish.
  2. The USC offensive line had a great season last year, but it must now replace three starters. Last year they gave up only 12 sacks all season (only one less sack than the Notre Dame defense had in 2016). In 2015, Troy gave up 38. So maybe there's a weakness there.
  3. Running back Ronald Jones is legit. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns last season — but he's even more dangerous than that. Watch Jones play, and you'll be blown away by his strong combination of power, speed, and vision. The dude runs hard.
  4. The Trojan defense might be a little suspect. If Darnold gets credit for leading the Trojan offense to 52 points in the Rose Bowl, the defense should be equally credited for allowing 49 points to Penn State (all in the 2nd and 3rd quarters).
  5. This rivalry has been about as even as it's been in a long time. Since Brian Kelly arrived (and Pete Carroll left) Notre Dame is 4-3 against USC.
NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day
When you see Nyles Morgan coming up the gut.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Best Case Scenario

Notre Dame is undefeated and fully confident heading into this game. The Irish defense exploits a weak Trojan offensive line, and puts enough pressure on Darnold to end his Heisman campaign right there in Notre Dame Stadium.

Worst Case Scenario

USC shows up like the old Pete Carroll teams. Those teams never took the Irish for granted, and brought their "A" game each time they squared off.

Early Prediction

Notre Dame 31, USC 27. Notre Dame could end up surprising the country during the first half of the season and continue that with Southern Cal. If the Trojan defense had trouble with Penn State last year, I can see them struggling with the likes of Josh Adams, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Brandon Wimbush. This will be Wimbush's coming-out party for America. Shouts of USA USA USA set Troy on fire.

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Posted by One Foot Down - For Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans on Thursday, August 17, 2017