The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Irish Insider: Staff Predictions

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bill Brink, Managing Editor

The magical run of last-second victories ends abruptly. The Trojans allow 8.6 points and 64 rushing yards per game and have not yet allowed a passing touchdown. That’s the kind of defense that keeps them in the top 10 every year. Don’t forget 6-foot-3, 235-pound supersafety Taylor Mays, who puts a whole new twist on crossing routes for Notre Dame’s receivers. Joe McKnight has emerged as the go-to running back, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Barkley’s not great, but good, and with receivers like Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson, who’s coming back from an injury, that’s all he has to be. The campus can be jumping, the students can wear whatever color they want, but USC, once again, is just too good.FINAL?SCORE:?USC?34, Notre Dame 14

Michael Bryan, Associate Sports Editor

I want Notre Dame to win this game more than any other in my four years here. Unfortunately, I?still don’t think this team is there yet (at least with Michael Floyd out). Everything has to go right for the Irish to win. The keys to keeping it close will be the play of the lines. If the offensive line can give Clausen time against USC’s front four, they’ll have a chance. If the defensive line can tackle well and hold Joe McKnight and the Trojans under five yards a carry, they’ll have a chance. Jon Tenuta and the front seven need to make Matt Barkley beat them, and play the corners aggressively so no throws are easy. Too many things need to go right to predict an Irish win, but there’s a far better chance than there has been in a long time.FINAL?SCORE:?USC?31, Notre Dame 17

Matt Gamber, Sports Editor

There are no excuses for Notre?Dame this year.?The Irish are coming off a bye week that was preceded by a series of emotional victories. They know what this game means in terms of a spot in the polls and a shot at a BCS?game. And Charlie Weis knows he can’t fail to field a competitive team against USC?for a fourth straight season. In other words, if Notre Dame is ever going to upset a top-notch Trojans team, it may as well be Saturday.?That being said, I don’t think the Irish have what it takes to pull it off. They’ll be competitive, but they still haven’t shown the ability to put away subpar teams, let alone the?No. 6 team in the nation in what is always a heated rivalry game. Still, with Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, anything can happen.FINAL?SCORE:?USC?27, Notre Dame 21

Sam Werner, Associate Sports Editor

Many people are calling this the most important game of Charlie Weis’ career at Notre Dame. It’s hard to argue with them. A win would send Notre Dame shooting up in the rankings and validate everything the Irish have worked towards over the past two years. Jimmy Clausen certainly gives Notre Dame a chance to win, but USC’s defensive line will pressure him, and Taylor Mays is ready to pick off any hurried throws. Notre Dame’s rushing defense has improved over the past couple of games, but I just don’t think they’re ready to handle C.J. Gable, Joe McKnight and the stable of running backs the Trojans have to offer. This game will certainly be closer than the past two years, but it may be one more year before Notre Dame gets over the hump.FINAL?SCORE:?USC?35, Notre Dame 24