USC and Notre Dame meet in a battle of top-20 teams and rivalry that dates back to the 1920s on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Find game time, TV channel, live stream, odds and picks information below.
USC-Notre Dame preview
No. 11 USC (6-1, 4-1) and No. 13 Notre Dame (5-1) have produced plenty of classics over the many decades the rivalry has covered since their first meeting in 1926 ( remember the Bush Push?), but few have been as important in recent years as this contest sets up to be. For the first time since 2009, both teams are ranked in the AP Poll entering the contest. With each team owning 1 loss, the winner of the 89th meeting between the two schools exits a close matchup with another win and continues on the path toward conference (for USC, but not the independent Notre Dame) and national supremacy, while the loser will fall out of the College Football Playoff race entirely.
This series has gone back and forth in recent years, with the teams trading possession of the Jeweled Shillelagh each season since Notre Dame won consecutive games over USC in 2012 and 2013. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 46-37-5, with a 25-14-1 record against the Trojans at home. The home team has won the last four games in the series In the last 10 meetings, USC has gone 6-4, including a 45-27 win over the Irish last season at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
USC-Notre Dame football TV channel, time, live stream
Date: Saturday, Oct. 21
Time: 4:42 p.m. PT
Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
TV channel: USC-Notre Dame will be broadcast nationally on NBC.
USC-Notre Dame football picks, odds
Line: Notre Dame (-3.5)
USC-Notre Dame keys to the game
Clean it up
Much of USC’s problems have centered on sloppy play, which sank them in the loss to Washington State, and again reared its ugly head in a win over Oregon State and a nailbiter of a victory over Utah. Three first-half turnovers put the Trojans in a hole out of which they had to climb against Utah. Against a better opponent, it could spell their doom. The Trojans own an even turnover differential (16-16 giveaways-takeaways, tied for 59th in the NCAA), which is a sign of a team that has had some close calls with failure but has recovered in time to stave off defeat. Mistakes similar to last week’s game will sink them in Notre Dame. They simply can’t happen if USC wants to move to 7-1.
Fight the adversity
Factors out of USC’s control are setting up against the Trojans this week. They’re coming off a 1-point win over Utah that required a massive second-half comeback effort and defensive stand. Notre Dame had a bye last week. The Trojans have to travel across the country to South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame spends the week leading up to the game at home. But that’s the funny thing about these Trojans: They seem to thrive when the deck is stacked against them. USC has come from behind to escape with wins over Texas and Utah, and needed second-half surges to run away with wins over Western Michigan and Cal. They’re riddled with injuries, yet continue to find ways to win, save for the road loss to Washington State. This will be perhaps their greatest test yet, especially without defensive tackle Josh Fatu (concussion) against a Notre Dame offense that averages 308 yards per game on the ground. For the Trojans, though, it will feel much more familiar — except they won’t have the comfortable confines of the L.A. Coliseum surrounding them.
Bust down the door
Since USC’s loss to Washington State, the Trojans have largely fallen out of the College Football Playoff discussion. But thanks to losses on the parts of Washington and Washington State, things are again wide-open for the Trojans to come out as the Pac-12 bid in the 4-team CFP. They can make quite the statement with a win over Notre Dame in a hostile environment, especially if it’s an emphatic, mistake-free victory. Nothing looks better on a resume than a road win over a ranked opponent, especially in a rivalry game. The door is still cracked open for the Trojans, but in order for the selection committee to take them seriously (should they run the table that exists between them now and CFP consideration in late-December), they need to bust it down with a big win over the Irish.
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