CFB: Trojans to Continue Dominance?

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
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There is a long and rich history in the head-to-head series between Notre Dame & USC, and it will renew on Saturday in South Bend.

It is a huge game for the Irish, who have a chance to post the biggest signature win in the Charlie Weis era.

Snapping their winless bowl skid last December, is this the time they finally make themselves relevant again on the national football stage? Oddsmakers at don't seem to think so, setting up USC as the 11-point road favorite.

Forget all the come-from-behind wins, forget the 4-1 record and forget Jimmy Clausen Heisman talk. For Notre Dame followers and detractors, this is the benchmark game of the season; the Fighting Irish have a BCS bowl offense and an International Bowl defense.

Notre Dame (1-4 ATS) has lost seven in a row to USC (1-6 ATS) and six of those games, the Trojans margin of victory has been an eye-opening 31 points per game. Charley Weis and his team feel this team is different, having a potential All-American quarterback and an offense that keeps overcoming the defenses' flaws.

The two biggest factors for Notre Dame will be keeping Clausen in vertical position and the ability of Irish defenders to keep USC out of the end zone. Notre Dame is 11-27 ATS having won four out of their last five games.

If the California game is precursor of USC's true abilities, watch out. The Trojans (4-1, 2-3 ATS) defense tamed the Bears like a zoo keeper and now has similar numbers to last year's unbelievable group.

USC QB Matt Barkley was productive against Cal and won't be intimidated at South Bend, having played at Columbus and at Berkeley already. Pete Carroll is pleased to report injured players like wide receiver Ronald Johnson should be back, which can open up the Trojan playbook. The Men of Troy are 39-7 and 29-17 ATS in non-conference action.

The Trojans are 14-3 ATS with two or more weeks of preparation and figure to be in good shape wanting to continue domination.

The StatFox Power Line shows USC by 16, and 58% of bettors agree that is the right side of the game to be on, according to the Betting Trends page at 

Carrie Stroup, Senior Reporter

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