USC is set to finish the regular season facing a similar foe — a traditional rival whose 2016 season has resembled a train wreck.
After besting a struggling and now bowl-ineligible UCLA team at the Rose Bowl, the Trojans now prepare to take on a struggling and bowl-ineligible Notre Dame team at the Coliseum.
Reflecting the fortunes of both programs this year, oddsmakers in Las Vegas do not expect the contest between the red-hot Trojans and ice-cold Irish to be close.
The opening line set USC as a 16.5-point favorite over Notre Dame on Sunday. The line has since settled up to 17 points.
Notre Dame is 4-7 on the season and against the spread despite being favored in ten of their 11 games played in 2016 so far. They’re coming off a heartbreaking loss to Virginia Tech in which they gave up a ten point lead going into the fourth quarter, conceding 13 unanswered points.
USC on the other hand improved their record to 8-3 on the season and 7-4 against the spread with a thorough victory over UCLA on Saturday. The Trojans have won seven straight and are 6-1 against the spread since September.
Notably, USC’s one failure to cover the spread during that time involved JuJu Smith-Schuster opting to go down and run the clock near the end of the game against Colorado rather than finishing an open touchdown to clear the five-point margin.
The Trojans have been favored by double-digits five times this season have have covered those spreads in each case. Most recently, they were projected to beat UCLA by 13.5 points and ultimately won by 22.