Luck o’ the Irish Helps Notre Dame Over USC

USC vs Notre Dame

Willie Bee

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 8:18 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 8:18 PM GMT

When it comes to rivalries, none has the national draw of USC and Notre Dame, and we have a free college football pick for their Saturday night clash in South Bend.

As far as non-conference rivalries go, nothing beats USC and Notre Dame in my book. Shoot, it’s bigger than a lot of the conference rivalries I saw on one list recently, and the only thing that would make it even better is if the Trojans and Fighting Irish somehow wound up meeting twice in one season with a New Year’s Six bowl game matchup.

Interrupted only by Hitler in the 1940s, the old foes meet for the 72nd straight year – and 88th time – this Saturday night, the Notredame Broadcasting Company starting its telecast from South Bend at 7:30 PM (ET). Bookmaker has the Irish installed as 3½ point favorites, the total now up to 65½ after opening six points lower.

 

Will Bye Week Help Or Hurt Irish?

Southern Cal is coming off a 28-27 win at home over Utah last week, the Trojans rallying from a 14-point halftime deficit then stopping a 2-point conversion attempt by the Utes in the final minute to hold on for the victory. Sam Darnold threw for more than 350 yards and three scores to help make up for three SC fumbles. Favored by nearly two touchdowns, it marked the fifth consecutive game Trojans backers failed to return to the pay window. They have a long list of walking wounded listed as questionable, including defensive tackle Josh Fatu and wide receiver Jalen Greene who are nursing concussions.

Notre Dame picked up its fourth consecutive win and cover with a 31-10 decision at North Carolina two weeks ago, the Fighting Irish laying 13½ on the college football odds. They were without Brandon Wimbush for that game after the junior quarterback injured his foot in a rout of Miami (OH) in Week 5. He’s listed as probable for this contest, but Notre Dame will be without linebacker Greer Martini (knee) who is third on the team with 39 tackles.

 

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Disregarding NCAA sanctions, Notre Dame holds a 44-37-5 lead in the rivalry, though Southern Cal has dominated the series recently with 11 triumphs the last 15 meetings, the ‘vacated’ 2005 win included. Two of the Irish’s four wins in that stretch have come at home the last two times the schools gathered under the watchful gaze of Touchdown Jesus, Notre Dame covering each time as less than TD chalk. The ‘over’ has been the winner each of the last three encounters following a 4-game run for the ‘under.’

There is a chance for showers as the evening progresses, along with a 12-15 mph blow from the south and the mid-60s for kickoff. I’m going with the luck o’ the Irish for my free NCAA football pick.

Free College Football Pick: Notre Dame -3½ (-105)Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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