Max Wittek, the 6-foot-4, 19-year-old redshirt freshman for USC, will fill in for injured Matt Barkley in the biggest game of the college football season. What’s at stake: A Notre Dame win vaults the Irish into the BCS title game. In that scenario, everyone wins. The casual fan will be drawn into the game because everyone knows a little about Notre Dame (and many will tune in just to root against the Irish). The guess here is Notre Dame in the title game would generate the largest ratings of the BCS era.
A loss? Chaos, and perhaps, another all SEC-title game, which nobody outside of the South wants.
So no pressure, Max.
High school: Mater Dei, the QB factory in California. Enrolled at USC a semester early because he graduated high school early. He spent some of his childhood in San Francisco before his mom got spooked by the 1994 earthquake and they moved to Connecticut. He stayed there until 9th grade, when he moved back to California.
Not only did Wittek go to high school with Barkley, but he also used the same QB coach, Steve Clarkson, the guru who was recently profiled in the New Yorker.
Notre Dame Connection: His dad, Kurt, is a “high-profile real estate developer.” His business partner? Joe Montana, the legendary ND QB. Montana is the one who told Wittek to send his son to Clarkson.
Recruiter: Wittek, using his Connecticut roots, is the USC player who alleged helped sell Silas Redd on transferring to USC.
USC career totals: 8-of-9, 95 yards, one TD.
Last week, some Las Vegas lines had USC as a 3-point favorite over Notre Dame. Following the UCLA loss and Barkley’s injury, Notre Dame is now favored by six.