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Pick o' the Irish: Week 7 vs. USC

10/15/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Like the Irish themselves, I am 4-1 on the season, 11 seconds away from being 5-0 (or a couple of other plays away from having an embarrassing record). But it's all just been a prelude to USC week. So here goes:

USC 38, Notre Dame 24: The Trojans have scored exactly 38 against Notre Dame the past two years and haven't scored fewer than 34 in this game since 2001. So even though they're starting a freshman quarterback this year in Matt Barkley, there's no reason to think they won't slice through a spotty Irish defense this time around, too.

The difference this year is that Notre Dame is able to score some points, too. The passing game behind Jimmy Clausen is legit, and with two weeks to prepare, Charlie Weis will find some things to exploit in an impressive USC defense.

This game will be competitive for a while, unlike most recent meetings. But the Trojans will take control in the second half behind the star of the game, Joe McKnight. Notre Dame can say it has closed the gap in this series, but a sizable gulf still remains.

Last pick: Notre Dame 28, Washington 27.

Actual score: Notre Dame 37, Washington 30 (OT).

Season results: 4-1