USC Trojans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (minus-3)
ATS pick: Notre Dame
The Irish have a coach with more than 200 wins who is coveted by the NFL. The Trojans have an interim coach with an 11-25 career record.
The Irish have an elite staff with one coordinator a reigning Broyles Award winner and the other a former head coach with a 74-7 career record. The Trojans have a short-handed, recruiting-oriented, lame-duck staff with one coordinator a new playcaller and the other in his first year with the program.
Brian Kelly's staff has spent its four years at Notre Dame building a deep roster that produced a BCS title game appearance and its best run in more than a decade. Lane Kiffin's staff has spent its four years at USC -- with the help of sanctions -- crafting a severely depleted roster and leading the school to its worst run in more than a decade.
This week, Notre Dame is coming off an open date -- after which Kelly is 11-3 -- while USC is coming off an emotionally draining victory. Nothing about these programs is remotely comparable right now, and it will be evident within minutes of kickoff that the Trojans have no shot to win this one.
Score: Notre Dame 38, USC 14