The scenario is rather simple: Win and they’re in.
That’s what the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are facing as they travel west to take on a deflated USC Trojan team that will be without their best player. Quarterback Matt Barkley’s injury to his throwing shoulder will keep him out of this one, according to Greg Beacham of the Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports). Although Barkley has struggled at times this season, that is a huge loss for Lane Kiffin’s bunch.
Notre Dame certainly won’t complain about Barkley being out, though a win is far from a given. USC can still run the ball, and traveling across the country—especially with this kind of pressure on the line—creates a very interesting scenario.
This Notre Dame team knows plenty about playing under pressure. Just look at a good chunk of the games and how close they’ve been. The final regular season game is a different story, however, and everything is on the line.