College Football Picks: Back Struggling USC +7 vs. Notre Dame

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, October 15, 2015 12:35 AM GMT

We look at the non-conference game between the USC Trojans and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for our Lone Ranger college football pick of the week.

USC vs. Notre Dame (-7), Saturday, October 17, 7:30 PM ET, NBC
On Saturday night at 7:30 ET, as televised by NBC TV, USC will travel to Notre Dame for one of the most important non-conference games each season.  Last year, USC trounced the Fighting Irish (49-14) in Southern California.  It was every bit as bad as the final score with the Trojans posting a yardage edge of 577-349.   It was the FCB (final crushing blow) to an injury-plagued, season ending run that saw the Irish finish 0-4 SU, 0-5 ATS, before beating LSU in their Bowl game.  It is very unusual that a named team like “USC” is a contrary play.  But, the reasons below will clearly dictate why this is so.

After last year’s season-ending debacle, a healthier and more veteran Notre Dame team (with 17 RS) has begun the season strong.  Unlike last year, injuries have not derailed them, as they have begun 5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS with only a 24-22 loss at Clemson (on a missed 2 point tying extra point in the final seconds) have derailed them from perfection.  Now, they get to take on a USC program that has just lost their HC and is reeling from a 17-12 home loss to Washington last Thursday night as 17 point home favorite. 

Much was expected of the Trojans under 2nd year HC Sarkisian.  They were off a solid 9-4 SU season and Bowl victory vs. Nebraska.   The year began poorly for Sarkisian with a profanity filled, alcohol-induced rant at an early season booster meeting.  It culminated with last week’s loss to Washington, yet another alcohol rampage by Sarkisian.  After another profanity laced exchange with AD Pat Haden, resulting in the dismissal of Sarkisian, he will be replaced by OC Helton who filled the void following the dismissal of former HC Kiffin in 2013.  Have the Trojans reached the nadir of their discontent?  Or will this game in South Bend continue their downward slide?  The latter is the perception of the public, who has bet this game from “Notre Dame -4 to Notre Dame -7.”  That is more than a TD from where this line would have been opening week.  But, the reality of the situation is quite the opposite of the perception.  USC has a quality defense, allowing just 17 PPG and only 5.0 YP play.  On offense, they are averaging a whopping 40 PPG on 495 YPG. And former HC Sarkisian did not partake in any of those onfield plays.  In addition, history is clearly on the side of the Trojans, who have won 10/13 in this series from the Irish, including 6/7 on this field.  In addition, USC has proved to be most resilient, winning and covering, the last 9 games following a loss in the last 2+ years.

With no one else willing to take a shot on the troubled USC Trojans in this Huge Notre Dame revenge game, I invite you to put the generous college football odds in your favor, join me and the Lone Ranger in my college football pick on the USC Trojans as the Lone Ranger Game of the Week. The combination of CFB and NFL Lone Ranger Plays are 8-1-1 ATS the last 5 weeks.  Believe!   

College Football Picks: USC +7 at 5Dimes

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