The greatest intersectional rivalry in sports heats up this season as Notre Dame and USC meet up in a game loaded with College Football Playoff implications.
After a sluggish early part of the season, Marcus Freeman’s first as head coach, Notre Dame has rebounded by winning five straight games, including three against the class of the ACC, and two of those against the teams that will play for that league’s championship, in North Carolina and Clemson.
Lincoln Riley has also made serious waves in his first season on the job at USC, coming in with a 10-1 overall record, fresh off a statement win over rival UCLA on the road, and having clinched a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
By winning this game, USC can take one major step closer towards making its first College Football Playoff, whereas Notre Dame has a golden opportunity to throw their rivals out of the running and finish the season strong.
What do the experts think of the matchup? Let’s see how the College Football Power Index computer model projects the game.
USC vs. Notre Dame picks, predictions
USC’s chance of victory: The computer is siding with the Trojans to defend their home turf, with a 65.5 percent chance to win the game outright.
Notre Dame’s chance of victory: That leaves the Fighting Irish with a 34.5 percent edge to upset USC on the road and win what would be their ninth game.
Point spread: USC comes into the game as narrow 5 point favorites to beat Notre Dame, according to the lines at SI Sportsbook.
Total: 62.5 points
Moneyline: USC -220 | Notre Dame +180
Spread consensus pick: USC -5
Score prediction: Team Rankings projects that USC will defeat Notre Dame by a score of 33.4 to 27.6 on Saturday.
How to watch: The game is set for Sat., Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern and 4:30 p.m. Pacific on the main ABC network and streams on fuboTV (Try for free).
USC predictions: The index kept USC at the No. 14 position in its 131 college football rankings, which slot teams by a projected per-game scoring margin. FPI favors the Trojans to win the Pac-12 by a 47.4 percent margin and gives them a 14.9 percent shot to make the College Football Playoff.
Notre Dame predictions: The computer moved the Irish up one spot to No. 16 nationally, first among FBS independents, and projected to be 13.5 points better than an average team on a neutral field.
Football Power Index (FPI) college football rankings and computer prediction model are a measure of team strength that predicts a team’s future performance.
Rankings and scores predictions are based on 20,000 simulations of a team’s season, using a combination of analytics, including scores to date, quality of opponents, and a team’s schedule.
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According to AP top 25 poll
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
- Kansas State
- Florida State
- North Carolina
- Ole Miss
- Oregon State
- Coastal Carolina
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