Why Notre Dame Is Most Likely the Next Undefeated Team to Lose

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterNovember 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Marqise Lee #9 of the USC Trojans carries 38 yards on a fourth quarter running play against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 10, 2012  in Los Angeles, California. USC won 38-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Odds are the three undefeated teams that stand before us currently all end the season unblemished.

Oregon appears to be an offensive machine that is not showing signs of slowing down, even as their defense gets beaten up. Kansas State, with a shaky Collin Klein, beat up on TCU, and has just lowly Baylor and less-than-impressive Texas remaining. Notre Dame has USC left on the schedule—a Trojans team that can't get out of its own way.

But if you're a betting man, looking to see which undefeated goes down next, look no further than the Irish.

Look, I think Brian Kelly's team is going to beat up on USC, but as it stands now, the Trojans-Fighting Irish contest is the most likely to see an undefeated apple cart be upset. Close games and nail-biters are what the Irish have done all season long, and against a potent offense like USC, the coin flips they have been winning could go the other way.

Lane Kiffin's team has more firepower than any squad the Irish have seen to date. While Notre Dame's defense is going to get after the Trojans—stopping the run, hitting Matt Barkley and covering Marqise Lee and Robert Woods—there will be opportunity on the edge.

Barkley, as a quarterback, is better than Landry Jones, and while the Sooners' quarterback could not make the Irish pay, there will be chances for Barkley downfield.

Marqise Lee and Robert Woods are no Phillip Dorsett, the Miami receiver who could not catch the gifts of long completions Stephen Morris placed in his hand. Give Lee an inch and he's taking a mile. Leave Woods a void on the edge and he's picking up a chunk of yardage.

The ability to make plays and turn big gain potential into touchdowns presents a real problem for Notre Dame's often stagnant offense. They are not built to keep pace with a steady-scoring Trojans team.

The Fighting Irish, as a team, are better than they were a season ago—a team that lost to USC 31-17. After watching the teams play all season long, USC's utter lack of defense should be enough to help Notre Dame's run game get going to control the contest.

However, the University of Southern California is going to be a formidable foe; if you're picking an undefeated team to go down, look no further than the Irish traveling to the LA Coliseum over Thanksgiving weekend.