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Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS USC Trojans: Staff Picks

I’m sorry officer — but there is blood everywhere.

notre dame stadium football Mike Miller/One Foot Down

How pumped are you guys for the Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh between the #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the USC Trojans? Hell YES you are! Rivalry night games always get me going on a hundred thousand trillion, so...

Let’s get to it

Brad Wechter

Notre Dame 44, USC 34

Sticking with my stated prediction from the podcast. Night games against rivals are spookytowns, and I think this one goes a lot like 2015.

Western Michigan Broncos 33, Miami-Ohio Redhawks 21

Western Michigan hung with Toledo, and Toledo is alright. Not emboldened by the win on the road at Buffalo for the RedHawks; I’ve been hurt too many times. I got WMU in this one.

Pat Sullivan

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 37, USC Trojans 28

USC has some serious talent on offense, and QB Kedon Slovis will officially be back for this one. However, ND gets Jafar Armstrong back this week as well, and I just don’t see Clark Lea’s defense giving up enough points to allow for the upset. USC will compete, but the Irish take this one in the second half.

Kansas Jayhawks - BYE WEEK

OUR Kansas Jayhawks will enjoy a hard-earned bye this weekend after their 2-4 start to the year. Look for Les and the lads to rest up and come back STRONG in Austin next weekend against the Longhorns. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWKS BAY-BEEEEE.

Billy Gorman

Notre Dame Fighting Irish 31, USC Trojans 21

Notre Dame faces a tough task in defending USC’s wide receivers, but this defense has done a great job all year of preventing chunk plays and long scores, most notably against Georgia. That is exactly how USC beat a strong Utah defense and if Notre Dame can take that away they should pull out the win, possibly more comfortably than the score will indicate.

Washington State Cougars 30, Arizona State Sun Devils 31

As is typical for Mike Leach coached teams, Washington State has a strong offense and weak defense this year. Arizona State is the opposite, so a strength vs strength and weakness vs weakness matchup should make this an interesting game. These teams are pretty close in terms of talent and I honestly have no idea how this game is going to turn out, so I’ll go with the ranked team at home in a close one.

Philip Gough

Notre Dame 31, USC 21

As opposed to coming out slow and having second half adjustments to win the game, I think the Irish start strong, led by both of O and D coordinators. Look for the Irish to bring pressure early, throwing SC off of their game and forcing some poor throws. On O, Chip Long will look to combat early blitzes with short slats, screens, and outside routes against man coverage. Having Jafar back will also be huge, as his burst through the line could have devastating impacts if he has 1 on 1 matchups vs. linebackers and safeties. USC will score late, but the game should be comfortable throughout.

Holy Cross 20, Brown 17.

Just win. This will be another ugly game that the Crusaders squeak out. They have been less than impressive, but know how to win tight games. This will be a nail biter and will come down to some shenanigans at the end, but Chesney and the gang pulls off another one as they return to Patriot league action next week.

Matt Greene

Notre Dame 38, Southern Cal 24

Yeah I’m just gonna go with the Irish having too much talent and motivation behind this one. It’s not a blow out, per se, but the Irish win by a couple possessions. I think the defense will eat up Slovis, and the offense will be able to keep scoring overall. Getting Jafar Armstrong back will be clutch, and I see him getting at least 1, maybe 2, TD runs a la Dexter Williams last year when he broke free on his first run back vs. Stanford, making me scream THE JUICE IS LOOSE like a freaking maniac in the stands last year. This stays interesting, like a 28-24 game in the 4th because rivalry game, but the Irish pull away late.

Central Michigan Chippewas 41, New Mexico State Aggies 17

Central with just a DOMINATING win over Josh’s Hurons last week, seemingly OUT OF NOWHERE. Now, the Chips take on New Mexico State, who is strocious. They are so bad, they got blown out by New Mexico, and we all saw how good they are. The Chips will be riding high off their conference win, so I could see them going down like 10-7 in the 1st but then even they will have too much for the Aggies.

Mike Whitlow

Notre Dame 27, USC 23

I’ve had this odd feeling all week about this game and to be honest, I expect an odd game between the Irish and Trojans on Saturday night, too. The records haven’t mattered much throughout this series — especially when Notre Dame has been good in recent years — and they won’t matter this time around either. It should be a fun game nonetheless. These two teams usually have airtight encounters and I’m expecting less 49-10 and more ‘just survive’ football from the Irish this week. It may not be pretty, but I think it’s a win.

Arkansas Razorback 30, Kentucky Wildcats 24

I honestly have no idea what to expect for the Cats off the bye week against the Hogs. Sawyer Smith is reportedly ready to take snaps as the QB1 this week, but he really hasn’t look that impressive since the Florida debacle a few weeks ago. They’re at home, which could help, but the vibes around Kentucky football isn’t good, but losing a good player like Terry Wilson will do that. The ugly trends will likely continue; something you don’t want to hear heading into a matchup with Georgia next week, BBN.

Connor Leichtle

Notre Dame 34, USC 17

The Irish are beginning to develop a home-field advantage. I think Clark Lea will have an excellent gameplan to stop the Trojan air attack, which will allow the Irish to race out to an early lead. I am most interested to see how Chip Long utilizes Jafar Armstrong in this offense. The two tight end sets with Kmet and Tremble with Jafar in the backfield could prove to be dangerous.

Iowa Hawkeyes, 10 Penn State Nittany Lions 24

Normally, a night game in Kinnick Stadium against a highly ranked team is an automatic win for the Hawkeyes. However, I can not get last week’s performance out of my head. Only putting up 3 points against Michigan is unjustifiable. I’m not sure where the offense comes from for the Hawkeyes in this game. I think Penn State is for real and will prove it Saturday night.

Bobby Norell

Notre Dame 38, USC 27

As much as I would love to see a repeat of the 2017 game, I don’t think that will happen again this season. I expect this to be a great game between two programs who hate each other, but I think it’s Notre Dame’s defense and the home crowd that make the difference on Saturday night. USC has playmakers at the skill position, but I think Notre Dame’s pass rush will get to Kedon Slovis and quiet down those playmakers. Notre Dame’s run game has began to hit its stride over the last five quarters and that should only get better with Jafar Armstrong expecting to make his return to the lineup. I think this is a hard fought game, but in the end Notre Dame will make more plays and comes out with the W.

Indiana Hoosiers 49, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 13

Rutger stinks. They haven’t won a Big Ten game since 2017 and I don’t see that changing on Saturday, especially on Homecoming in Bloomington. Michael Penix has been phenomenal when healthy this season. He’s been so good that PFF has him rated as the 16th best QB in all of college football. I expect him to have the Hoosier offense rolling up and down the field. If the Hoosiers can go 3-1 (which is not out of the realm of possibility) in its next four games, #9WINDIANA will definitely be a possibility!

Jude Seymour

Notre Dame 34, USC 20

Check out my podcast with UHND’s Greg Flammang for why I think the Irish will prevail Saturday.

Cincinnati Bearcats 38, Houston Cougars 21

It’s hard to get a handle on the Bearcats, who are ranked in the Associated Press poll after beating the Group of 5’s former darling, the UCF Knights. Are the Bearcats contenders for that Cotton Bowl spot at year’s end? Several people smarter than me think so. Meanwhile, Houston sounds as if its fracturing internally. A senior player -- well, former now -- accused coach Dana Holgorsen of running him off the team and tanking the season by redshirting certain players that should be playing this year. If the Cougars are shutting this down, then the Bearcats should roll at John O’Quinn Field at TDECU Stadium.

Joe Londergan

Notre Dame 38, USC 17

The Trojans have struggled on the road this year. See the UW game and BYU game for examples. Kedon Slovis should also be back this week after concussion protocol and coming off of that is never easy. The Irish should be able to outpace USC’s offense. plain and simple.

Oregon State Beavers 21, Utah Utes 45

The Beavs surprised us with a win at UCLA last week, but Utah is a different beast. The Utes’ offensive and defensive lines are extremely solid and will give OSU the toughest test of the season to date and I’m doubtful OSU’s big guys are up for it.

Lisa Kelly

Notre Dame 31, USC 17

Notre Dame faces one physical football team as USC comes to South Bend to challenge the Irish. While the Trojans find themselves trying to improve, and their Head Coach facing a season constantly laced with criticism by alumni and fans, Notre Dame seems to be a steep task on the road. The Irish find themselves in a ongoing battle to win out this season to keep playoff hopes alive. While favored by 11 points, Notre Dame cannot afford to take this long time rival for granted. It will be a hard fought battle until the end with Notre Dame enjoying another win.

Kentucky Wildcats 28, Arkansas Razorbacks 17

These two SEC teams are both struggling. Arkansas seems to be mildly improving while Kentucky has yet to prove they have enough talent to match last year’s solid season. If Kentucky hopes to again appear in a Bowl game, a win here vs the Razorbacks is a must. A win here for Arkansas would go a long way to give much needed confidence to this young Razorback squad. Odds makers call this a close game.

Joshua Vowles

Notre Dame 31, USC 17

I think this is a game that Notre Dame jumps all over USC early with a big first half from Ian Book, Cole Kmet, and dare I say it... Jafar Armstrong. The cold and wind will help Kyle Hamilton pick off some passes from Kedon Slovis — as Slovis runs for his life from Julian Okwara, Khalid Kareem, Jamir Jones, and others. Notre Dame slows the game down and makes it a physical on test in the second half as they hold onto a lead. The Jeweled Shillelagh stays home and covered once more with Trojan Blood.

Eastern Michigan Eagles 31, Ball State Cardinals 27

The Eagles are coming off a huge disappointment via the Fighting Matt Greene’s and will be hungry for a conference win. This will be only their 2nd home game of the season, and Rynerson should be rocking [pauses for “what?”]. Mike Glass III might have to do this all by himself on offense, but the EMU defense should be able to help with just enough pressure and stops for a HUGE West Division win in the MAC.

Lauren Dangel

Notre Dame 37, USC 24

The Trojans have a lot to be embarrassed about with Aunt Becky’s situation, and the Irish will shame them even more! USC’s shaky defense will cost them this weekend’s game; the Trojans’ tackling is just not accurate enough to threaten the Irish. Alexa, play the everything’s gonna be okay music from the moral of a “Full House” episode, because the Irish will outdo the Trojans through a defining structure and win this one.

Ohio State Buckeyes have a bye week, so BYE!