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Trojans Face Irish Challenge For BCS Spot

by Thomas Jensen on Friday, November 24th, 2006

Trojans Face Irish Challenge For BCS SpotNo. 3 USC and No. 6 Notre Dame meet for the 78th time in one of the greatest intersectional rivalries in college football and there's a lot on the line as the winner stays alive in the hunt for a berth in the BCS Championship Game. The Trojans are coming off a solid victory over California that gave them at least a share of an unprecedented fifth consecutive Pac-10 title and clinched, at worst, their 31st Rose Bowl berth. USC has beaten Notre Dame in the past 4 meetings, including last year's memorable nail biter in South Bend.
 
USC, which has won 54 of its last 57 games, is riding a Pac-10 record 32-game home winning streak. And the Trojans, playing one of the nation's toughest schedules, are 19-0 in November under sixth-year head coach Pete Carroll, the nation's most winning active coaches.



 

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn became the first Irish quarterback ever to throw for 3,000 yards in consecutive seasons. With his first touchdown pass against Army on Sept 18, Quinn became the first Irish quarterback to toss 30 touchdown passes in consecutive seasons. Quinn also completed 226 passes without an interception, a streak that came to an end in the game against Army. With his three touchdown passes against the Black Knights, Quinn became the 10th player in NCAA Division 1-A history to ever throw 80 touchdown passes.


The Trojans enter the game with an offense that appears to have come into its own. It is nationally ranked in total, scoring and passing offense and a defense that leads the Pac-10 in every statistical category. Quarterback John David Booty, in just his first year as a starter, is playing efficient, productive ball. All-American candidate wide receiver Steve Smith and 2005 Biletnikoff Award finalist and All-American wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett who is the Pac-10's career touchdown reception leader, both rank in USC's career pass receiving Top six.
 
One of the bigger arguments in college football this season surrounds this question. Is Notre Dame under rated or over rated? It's the consensus of detail freaks that the Irish have played a cream-puff schedule and is a ship wreck waiting to happen. In the last four weeks, Notre Dame has played all three service academies and woeful North Carolina, a team that has solidified its spot at or near the bottom of the ACC Coastal Division. As bad as the Tar Heels have been this season, they did manage to play a competitive game against the Irish while putting up 26 points on the Notre Dame defense.
 
The Irish have not been kind to their supporters on the betting board this season only covering 4-of-11 games ATS. However three of the covers ATS came against the three service academies this November. In games against schools from BCS conferences the Irish were dreadful ATS going 1-6-1.
 
Notre Dame is annually a public favorite and Saturday's game with USC is no different as 54% of the betting public is risking money on the Irish and the +7.0 chalk.

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