Notre Dame vs. USC: Irish Defense Will Prove Too Much for Max Wittek to Handle

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIINovember 24, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17:  Manti T'eo #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish waves to the crowd as he leaves the home field for the last time during a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Backup quarterback Max Wittek is supremely confident in his USC Trojans to upset the No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish this week, but the freshman should have just kept his mouth shut.

The Irish rank first in the nation in defense, allowing just 10.1 points per game despite playing against no less than four Top 25 teams this season. Now, the defense will feast upon the young quarterback who called it out this week.

The Irish should feel disrespected after Wittek guaranteed a victory in an interview with ESPN Radio in Los Angeles:

We haven't got the full game plan yet, but from what I can tell, we're going to play our offense, whatever coach [Lane] Kiffin feels comfortable giving me. If he wants to air it out, let's air it out. If he wants to pound it on the ground, let's do that. Like I said, I'm going to go out there, I'm going to play within myself, within the system, and we're going to win this ballgame.

Well, now it's time for the young gun to back up his big mouth, and I can't see him doing so.

Wittek has thrown a total of nine passes in his college career, with three passes against Hawaii, Colorado and UCLA each. He did find success with those passes, completing eight for 95 yards and a touchdowns, but he didn't have to play against a stingy Irish defense.

Even with offensive weapons like Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, Wittek is in some serious trouble.

Heisman hopeful Manti Te'o and the Irish defense will prove too much for the young, inexperienced quarterback to handle this week. He will see a new scheme and a whole new level of talent.

Wittek would have had his hands full if he kept his head down and his mouth shut all week. But by throwing fuel on the fire, he has essentially ensured that the Irish are going to come after him and try to embarrass him on national TV.

To their credit, the Irish aren't firing back at Wittek or poking fun at him. But they are giving all the politically correct answers (via ESPN):

"He's a big guy, he has a strong arm -- obviously he guaranteed a win or whatever, but at the same time what do you expect?" Notre Dame's fifth-year end Kapron Lewis-Moore said. "You don't expect him to say we're going to lose. I think people are really making a bigger deal than what it is. He's a confident quarterback, and you want to play for a confident quarterback. So by him coming out saying, 'We're going to win,' that's what you want out of your quarterback."

"Obviously we're not over-thinking it, it's not hanging up in the locker room, it's not bulletin-board material. You know about it, just kind of shrug it off, then go to work."

This rivalry game might not have been all that close if Matt Barkely hadn't gotten hurt, but with Wittek under center, this is going to get ugly.

Prediction: Notre Dame 38, USC 13