Notre Dame is heading to Los Angeles in pursuit of a perfect season and national title berth this weekend. The hype is now following the Irish with College GameDay landing outside the Coliseum on Saturday.
This is a spotlight this team hasn’t had in decades, and how they will respond is still up for debate.
The Irish are being led by a sophomore quarterback on offense and have faced inconsistency all year from the position. Notre Dame has been able to rely on its ground game at times, but the offense has issues as a unit.
Those issues seemed to disappear against Wake Forest this past Saturday. The Irish amassed 584 total yards of offense, with Everett Golson tossing 346 yards and three touchdowns.
Cierre Wood had a huge game from the backfield, rushing 11 times for 150 yards. There were no holes in the Notre Dame attack, and for the first time in the Brian Kelly era, the Irish looked like they could be a dangerous offensive threat.
The defense is one of the best in the country, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te’o. The Irish are threatening for a national title thanks to their defense, but against USC they will have to score.
As good as Notre Dame is on defense, the Trojans are just as good on offense. Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are having All-American years for USC—these guys will get their yards against the Irish.
Matt Barkley is a distant name in the Heisman discussion, but he is still having a very good year in Los Angeles. Barkley is completing 63.6 percent of his passes, and he has 36 touchdown throws on the year. He has 3,273 yards passing and only 15 interceptions.
When the trio of Trojans take the home field for the last time this fall, they will be ready to bring a top-level performance.
For Notre Dame to win this game they will need another Wake Forest-type performance. The Irish can’t afford to have a finish that is close because their luck is almost up for this season.
This will be a tough game for Notre Dame to walk away from with a win. The Irish will be walking into a hostile Coliseum set to watch its Trojans march to an upset. Notre Dame is fighting for a national title berth.
Can Notre Dame make it past USC?
A lot is on the table in this game for Notre Dame. Oregon and Kansas State showed that they couldn’t handle the spotlight at the top. The top has been an extremely fluid position in the past few years of college football, and nothing has changed this season.
Notre Dame has to focus on the task at hand or the Irish will become the latest victims to the GameDay fame.
The odds are in Notre Dame’s favor to walk away with a win. I would list the Irish as 3-to-1 odds to win the game. Despite the struggles that the Irish may have early in the game on the road, they have consistently found ways to win this season.
This will be a great matchup to end the regular season that should finish with a Notre Dame win.