What's worse than losing your starting quarterback? Losing your starting quarterback for a game against your rival, who just happens to be No. 1 in the country thanks to an outstanding defense. That is what USC is facing this weekend when they host Notre Dame without Matt Barkley, who is out with a shoulder sprain.
Unsurprisingly, most people are picking against the Trojans. Of the six CBS writers, only Dennis Dodd picked USC, and that is against the 3.5-point spread so he may not even think they will win. It is a little bit better at Yahoo!, where Pat Forde picked the Irish, but Graham Watson took the Trojans. The uphill battle that USC is facing is probably best summed up at ESPN, though, where Ted Miller predicts a comfortable Notre Dame win, but Kevin Gemmell chooses the Trojans, for no good reason at all:
Kevin Gemmell: The smart money says pick Notre Dame against a USC team that doesn't have Matt Barkley. But I'm going against my instincts, because the Pac-12 homer in me says "Fight On." #beLEEve. USC 35, Notre Dame 21.
So USC's best chance is blind faith? Obviously the Trojans have a better shot than that, but things do not look good in Troy. That is a nasty Irish defense and SC has struggled with their starting quarterback. Without him, look out.