Easy slate to hurt Irish's BCS ranking


Play Q & A with handicapper Kelly Stewart, who will answer selected questions from Las Vegas Review-Journal readers. Email her at Askkelly@reviewjournal.com.

Q: Notre Dame could be in for a rude awakening? How do you like ND now?

- Bob, Las Vegas

A: Well, Bob, I like Notre Dame about as much as I did last week. The Irish played the game of their lives at Oklahoma. The defense looked great, and they finally showed signs of an offense. (Golf clap.) Now let's hope they don't lose that momentum this weekend against Pittsburgh.

Brian Kelly is doing an excellent coaching job, and I do think ND finishes the regular season undefeated. But that doesn't say much considering their biggest game left is against a mediocre Southern California team. I think the Irish's easy road ahead - Pitt, Boston College, Wake Forest - ultimately will hurt them in the BCS rankings.

Q: What are your two favorite 'dog plays of the week?

- Al, Las Vegas

A: I'm going with Texas Christian plus-5½ at West Virginia and Mississippi State plus-7 at home versus Texas A&M. TCU showed promise against Texas Tech and Iowa State. The Mountaineers, on the other hand, have a weak defense, and their true colors were exposed on offense. The Horned Frogs rank in the top 25 in total defense, and they should shut down quarterback Geno Smith. West Virginia is 1-5 ATS this season as a favorite.

Texas A&M has found success against bottom feeders in the Southeastern Conference, and I'm not impressed. Mississippi State is coming off a lopsided loss at Alabama, but that's no surprise. I believe the Bulldogs bounce back this week with a big game against Johnny Manziel, the Aggies' freshman quarterback. Mississippi State's secondary will keep his passing game honest and limit his rushing yards. I love home 'dogs in this situation.

Q: Does USC have an upset shot versus Oregon?

- Mark, Bullhead City, Ariz.

A: As a Kansas State fan, I would love more than anything else to see an overrated USC team beat up the Ducks, but unfortunately I'm a realist. USC has struggled on a few occasions against average teams. Not that Oregon has impressed me, either, but just looking at the teams' common opponents - Arizona and Washington - gives me no reason to believe the Trojans can pull it off.

The Ducks are blowing out teams, and they didn't even play their starters in the second half in three-quarters of their games. As much as I hate to say it, I'll be on Oregon in this one.

Kelly Stewart of Hottiehandicappers.com can be reached at Askkelly@reviewjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kellyinvegas.

 

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