Top OOC Games of 2007: #5 USC at Notre Dame
#5 USC at Notre Dame
On paper this game looks like it could be another blowout in this contest, like earlier in the decade. But I think Notre Dame has too much pride on the line to let this one get out of control. It takes place later in the season (Oct 20), and that should give the young Irish core time to work the kinks out and get ready for a National Title contender in the Trojans.
John David Booty is back behind center for the Trojans but he'll have new receivers to throw to with the loss of Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett. Patrick Turner and Vidal Hazelton are the two young guys that look to pick up where Smith and Jarrett left off. Pete Carroll will have to find carries for the seven first or second year tailbacks that he has, what a tough job for him! Look for Joe McKnight to make an immediate impact of offense too. I expect Carroll to use him the same way he used Reggie Bush early on.
On defense the Trojans are stacked. Returning are 3 linebackers LB Keith Rivers, LB Rey Maualuga, and LB Brian Cushing which could make up the best linebacking unit in the country. Also in the secondary the Trojans have a core that many NFL units wished they had with Taylor Mays, Josh Pinkard and Kevin Ellison. Pinkard could be in a bit of trouble with his recent arrest.
Emotion will only carry the Irish through the first quarter before the USC talent takes over. We thought the same thing a few years ago, and the Irish were a "Bush Push" away from a huge upset. This season USC will be just too much for them on both sides of the ball. But if there is one thing I've learned about Notre Dame, never count them out at home. USC by two touchdowns.