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#3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS USC Trojans: Staff Picks

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For the Jeweled Shillelagh AND THE PLAYOFFS.

Ball State v Notre Dame Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Here we go folks... time for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to finish the season strong, and set themselves up for the college football playoff. Right in front of them are their biggest rivals, the USC Trojans.

The story sets up a lot like the 2012 season, only this Notre Dame football team is a lot better than that one (and USC sucks more too).

It’s been a big week, and with Thanksgiving (and the travel that comes with it) it’s also been a week that we fell behind a bit here at OFD (well, I fell behind). Being as it may, I never sent out the bat signal for the picks, so they may be a little light today. I’m certain they’ll be sent in here and there throughout the day and I’ll update accordingly.

Joe Londergan

Notre Dame 35, USC 14

How USC managed to beat Washington State earlier this year, I’m genuinely not sure. But this Notre Dame team can play defense, so I think they’re fine. Notre Dame will finish the regular season undefeated.

Oregon Ducks 28, Oregon State Beavers 17

If OSU’s secondary didn’t have so many injuries or as many issues with the secondary, I’d feel better about their chances against the Ducks in the Civil War. But, it’s looking like Justin Herbert is going to have another big day. OSU finishes the year with two wins, one more win than they had last year.

Matt Greene

Notre Dame 34, USC 20

I’m keeping this game close because it’s a rivalry game, and these things tend to be closer. USC will come out to keep it close, but the Irish are just too much. After seeing UCLA run all over them last week, I’m excited to see what Dexter and our backfield do against them. Ian Book is just a more experienced leader in the offense than JT Daniels. JT Daniels might make some plays, but the Irish defense is going to be too much for him. I believe the Irish still cover. Very optimistic, but cautiously so.

Toledo Rockets 31, Central Michigan Chippewas 27

Yikes. Probably the worst year to pick the Chips’ games. They keep it close, but the Chips are so bad that Toledo will take the home game victory. CMU ends up 1-11 with zero FBS wins. Woof. Need some changes up there in Mount Pleasant.

Austin Gallagher

Notre Dame 45, USC 16

This is a rivalry filled with a history of back-and-forth struggles between two powerhouse programs. This game won’t be one of those. The Irish come into the game at #3 and rolling, while USC is fresh off a loss to one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 in it’s local rival UCLA. Notre Dame will dominate this game in a similar fashion to 2017, and look exactly like the third ranked team in the nation should.

Washington State Cougars 31, Washington Huskies 24

The Washington Huskies have historically dominated in the Apple Cup, with a 72-32-6 overall record. But they have looked very shaky this year, while the Washington State Cougars lead the conference and only have one loss. So, for the first time this year, I’m picking against the Huskies. The solid defense from the Huskies to keep it close, but Mike Leach’s prolific offense will prove too much for Washington to handle.

Wes Sweigert

Philip Gough

Notre Dame 38, USC 20

The game is never quite in jeopardy, though the Trojans put forth a strong effort in the first half with a couple of big plays. As per usual, Notre Dame makes some great second half adjustments and clinches their first college football playoff appearance.

Joshua Vowles

Notre Dame 49, USC 14

From the Anti-Preview: Notre Dame is just too good for USC. There is no other way to say it other than that. The Irish are going to beat the ever living fuck out of Tommy Trojan, take his lunch money, and send him home crying to his momma about the big bad bully Brian Kelly.

Ohio State Buckeyes 31, Michigan Wolverines 27

Urban Meyer digs down deep, and the Buckeyes find a way of truly destroying the Big 10 in one game. Jim Harbaugh implodes so badly people will wonder if HE needs mental help.

Jude Seymour

Notre Dame 49, USC 14

First off, a plug for The Untitled Notre Dame-USC Football Podcast. The conversation between Gregg Flammang of UHND.com and USC fan Michael Muto of Tiltingground is always enjoyable, but never moreso in the week where the two rivals play each other.

Like most ND and USC fans, the gents find themselves in the exact opposite spirits than they were when this game was approaching in 2016. Greg is now ebullient, while Michael is predictably morose.

Seizing opportunity, I’ve made a $25 charity bet with Michael on the outcome of today’s game. He holds zero illusion that USC will prevail outright, so I’ve spotted him 17 1/2 points. If I’m wrong, some worthwhile charity that is near and dear to the hearts of USC fans is going to get my money.

But I fully expect to keep my cash and instead make Michael donate to my worthwhile cause, Gamin’ for Aven. Ryan Ritter, the managing editor of Her Loyal Sons, has been raising funds for the Children’s Miracle Network / Children’s Hospital Foundation for the past four years in memory of the son of his wife’s childhood roommate, who was sadly taken by leukemia. (This arrangement worked quite well last week, as three Cuse fans gave a total of $75 to the cause.)

So cheer, cheer for the Irish to do what they are fully capable of doing — blowing out a rival to cap off a perfect regular season. To beat USC is one thing. But to make a Trojans fan empty his wallet is truly divine.

Clemson Tigers 52, South Carolina Gamecocks 13

The Gamecocks’ high-flying offense (42.7 point average over the last three games) meets the Tigers’ stingy defense (12.1 points per game, best in the NCAA). There’s no reason for me to think that today’s result will be outside the norms, so my score reflects the inevitability of the Tigers capping a perfect season.

Jeff Czerniakowski

Notre Dame 41, USC 20

Blowout city. If Notre Dame gets up early, the game will be over. I think the Irish get up 14-0 and never look back. Undefeated season, here come the Irish.

Lisa Kelly

Notre Dame 42, USC 10

Notre Dame needs to make a statement today against USC as the CFB Playoff committee is watching, but I don’t see much of a problem with that. Yes, USC is still stinging after last week’s loss against UCLA, but Notre Dame’s offense will have no problems running and passing all over USC’s defense. And the Fighting Irish offense is going to destroy that poor USC quarterback. Here Come the Irish! Burn Troy to the Ground!!