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On a schedule filled with big games, Trojans are Irish’s true rival

Oct 15, 2013, 2:37 PM EDT

Brian Kelly 9

Nothing seems to get people excited like talking about rivalries. Just ask Brian Kelly, who kicked a hornet’s nest earlier this year when talking about Michigan. But as Kelly spoke with the media today about the Irish’s annual match-up with USC, it was clear that this game is the true rival that means the most to this team.

“I think our players will be the first ones to admit that this is our rivalry game,” Kelly said. “This is our game that we look forward to against USC.”

A rivalry that begun in 1926, the USC-Notre Dame rivalry has been called the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football, and is a match-up that both programs have been fiercely protective of as conferences have expanded and big national rivalries have all but disappeared.

And while Notre Dame fans can look at games against Michigan, Navy, Michigan State, and Purdue as long running match-ups that are usually considered natural rivals, Kelly talked about how this week is different.

“I think we go through the season in so many weeks. I think it’s on the other side. In other words, other teams really calling it their rivalry game,” Kelly explained.  I think our players will be the first ones to admit that this is our rivalry game.

“It’s such a great matchup, great tradition, great history.  It’s part of the history of Notre Dame football that they really recognize as that one singular game.”

With Notre Dame winning two of the last three match-ups after USC had nearly a decade of uninterrupted success against the Irish, Kelly talked about where this game should stand on the national level.

“We would hope that both programs are competing each and every year for BCS Bowls and playoff opportunities,” Kelly said. “I think that’s where both programs want to be, that they’re on equal footing, that you don’t have to wait three, four years to get a win. I think both programs are looking forward to those days where it’s a great matchup year in and year out.”

As USC works through the tail end of NCAA sanctions that severely limited scholarships, they’ll now be hiring a new head coach that’ll need to quickly evaluate and restock a roster that’s now competing for the top talent in Los Angeles with a revamped UCLA program.

And while Kelly mentioned reaching equal footing in a rivalry that the Trojans have dominated since the turn of the century, it’s worth noting that this rivalry has been defined by the swings in momentum — with the Irish winning 12 of 13 games starting in the early 80s, before USC won 11 of 13 from 1970 until 1982.

In other words, the Irish are perfectly positioned to win at home and take three of their last four against the Trojans, potentially setting up another run that would have Irish fans very happy.

  1. onward2victory - Oct 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    I heard USC supports North Korea.

    • don74 - Oct 15, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      I thought Dennis Rodman west to SE Oklahoma State.

  2. mtflsmitty - Oct 15, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    I’m jones ing so hard for ND football I actually watched Jack Nolan and Inside ND Football twice over the weekend. geez, I was hard up. Bring on the Trojans, the second half of the season, and our run at 10-2.

    GO IRISH!

  3. rationalnd - Oct 15, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    The USC game is without a doubt the most important game on the schedule to me. Although UM comes in a close second, I actually have some respect for the University as a whole. USC is a garbage school with horrible ethics in the middle of the ghetto and I view this game as nothing less than the battle of Good vs. Evil.

    Go Irish FUSC!

    • onward2victory - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      I think we feel exactly the same way about Michigan and U$C.

  4. goirishgo - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    I hate that damn fight song.

    • ndnphx - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      And The Song Girls, and that stupid effen horse…

      • nducsb - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Living in Los Angeles as an ND fan… I agree. With everything. My wife went to ND and every time we step foot on USCs campus she cringes and bottles up… the hatred expels from her pores. Needless to say last years game was great.

  5. loadofwash - Oct 15, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Tell me why the Irish are only giving a field goal at home? I quess they ain’t too good.

    • onward2victory - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      Tell me why you troll this website everyday?

      Seriously. Answer the question. Is it because you enjoy getting a reaction like this? Or are you just a huge pessimist?

      • thunderingherdsec11 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:01 AM

        I’m not sure what the other poster’s motivation is but reading these posts is funny. Even during the Carroll era ND fans were predicting victory. You know how that turned out.

        This year ND should win. We are a team looking for an identity. We’ll see. I just hope it’s injury free.

        As for Michigan. My wife’s family is all UofM and they have nothing but respect for SC. Come to think of it most true Irish fans do too. As true SC fans have for UofM and ND.

        Fight On for ol’ SC!

  6. NotreDan - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    The Irish are only giving 3 at home because vegas knows martin can’t call plays and our QB is obsessed with “checking” and delay of game penalties..

    • irish4006 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:36 PM

      Spot on. I think Chucky is the weakest link at ND.

  7. loadofwash - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    It ain’t everyday a 12-0 team is an underdog to everyone else in the top 10 and shows up for a full can of whoop ass for the world to see (and recruits). Maybe that explains the talent and subpar coaches since ol Louie.

  8. loadofwash - Oct 15, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    That michigan team sure is a force, sorry I was thinking bout 20 yrs ago again. Miss those days.

    • irishinches - Oct 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      That’s a great post. Now let’s talk about your boys…who are they again? Oh that’s right. You can’t say bc you know the Irish would own them. Penn St blows bud

  9. sfnd - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    This is THE rivalry game — absent a few years with Miami if you are old enough to remember.

    Why 3 point spread for ND?

    ND has been inconsistent. At times, the team played with energy and looked like it can compete with reasonably good teams (ASU and much of the OU game). At other times, the team had looked confused and somewhat flat. The team (coaches and players) have not executed a consistent plan for ND to dictate the game against the opposition or made the necessary adaptions to the different opposing teams to beat them convincingly on their terms.

    Until last week, USC’s performance has been something between bad and awful. That said, the Trojans have some immensely talented players that are complemented by some very athletic teammates. The team has found new energy with the coaching change ( I was hoping Lane would be USC coach for life). The biggest hole for USC is depth. By the second half, the starters are out of gas.

    I expect this week’s game to be close. Both teams will play with high emotion. I suspect USC will have some big plays. If ND holds SC to 21 points in the first half and does not have more than 2 turnovers, then ND wins. If USC has a big first half and get a lead of more than 14 points, then the ND coaches will lose their composure and ask the offense to make plays that they have not been able to make with any regularity.

    ND needs to establish the run and then use passes to the outside or at least away from crowds in the middle to open up the game (big chunks). Replace the RB each play and have him bring in the new play to save time on the signaling from the sideline. Tell USC, we are going to run the ball and then do it. TR can use audibles but I would limit him initially. If the defense is overloaded on the side you plan to run to, then change to run to the other side. After the run is established, then TR can look for mismatches and quick throws. I much prefer to watch the ND players outperform the other team by executing fundamentals than hope to see the coaches outsmart the other team.

    Go Irish.

    • North of Denver - Oct 15, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      Have to agree and disagree:
      1) I too wish Lane was Coach for Life. It’s a lot easier to hate the Evil Empire when Vader is at the helm.
      2) if SC scores 21 in first half we’re screwed. Basically will mean that our secondary gave up too many big plays. I saw USC’s game last week and they looked explosive.

  10. yaketyyacc - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    hey, load of wash, just an aside. you may not fit well on this board, but man, you’d be great in Congress.
    Several years ago, sitting in ND stadium, in a drizzly cold rain, watching USC go ahead by 20 points and the USC band and cheerleaders chanting between each play, smug and content that they were whipping our butts, only to see the Irish score 21 points to their none in the second half, and leave with the drum major’s sword in a new position. and yes, the sun came out as WE sang our fight song.
    so Irish, right from the start, take it to them, and get more aggressive, faster and determined, and we will gladly sing the Notre Dame Victory March over and over…..

  11. scottatnd - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    @loadinmouth it must take a lot of effort for you to look up all those stats on ND. Do you put the same effort into your own team? I’m guessing no.
    It’s ok, We can take it. We laugh at haters like you every day.

  12. 1historian - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    “a rivalry that the trojans have dominated since the turn of the century.”

    terrible but true

    I have said on a few occasions that we have not seen this team at its best

    It’s time

  13. 1historian - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    I would love a rainy game (watched from the warmth of my house in Maine) and I would love to see the Irish kick the ever-loving dogshit out of the trojans (insert obscene joke here) and then I would like to see the congress and the president act like grown-ups.

    Is that asking too much?

    OMT – a member of the trojan marching band slipping and falling on his./her ass into a nice northern Indiana mud puddle would be a nice additional touch.

  14. getsome99 - Oct 16, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Keep up the good work load. Haters like you are just reminders that Notre Dame is still the greatest college football program in the country. We understand why you’re mad.

  15. nudeman - Oct 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Bless me Father for I have sinned. I confess to liking USC’s Fight Song, and seek your absolution.
    But Father, I don’t apologize for LOVING the Song Girls and Cheerleaders
    Amen.

    • kansasirish - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      Oh Nudie! They’re definitely good at getting their feet above their heads

      • nudeman - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        I didn’t notice the feet.
        Sorry

    • nducsb - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Dude. come on. They are SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA cheerleaders. Take. Off. The. SWEATERS. its freaking 90 degrees out and your wear SWEATERS. so stupid. Give me Oregon Cheer Leaders anyday.

    • NotreDan - Oct 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Camel

      • NotreDan - Oct 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        Toe

      • nudeman - Oct 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        Well … it is Hump Day.
        Mike, Mike, Mike ……

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        To paraphrase Borat, the song girls’ vah genes hang loose like sleeve of wizard.

  16. ndcanuck - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    I think the 3 point spread is probably fair; I expect this one will be close. USC has a lot of talent but they’re dinged up and a bit rudderless. The question is if they can get it together and make big plays. ND could get down early here, but I’m hoping the D continues to step up with Day back on the line and they can run the ball well enough to get a win.

    Love this game! Usually played around my birthday (as it is this year) so always a lot on the line for me (and for the people watching with me). Nothing pisses me off more than to have the Irish lose and put a damper on a celebration; whereas nothing kicks it into high gear more than watching them beat U$C. Go Irish!

  17. irishwilliamsport - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Washington State held USC to 7 points, I think our D is better than WSU. Once the emotion wears off SC is in trouble as long as we don’t turn the ball over. They have played an easy schedule so far and lost 2 games and got crushed by ASU.

    I just read an article about how Redfield is almost ready to play and its taken so long because of the complexities of the defense. Maybe thats why this team makes so many mistakes on both sides of the ball because they are thinking too much instead of just playing. We check into something on offense and the D checkes right back. Please simplify things on both sides of the ball so they can play football.

    • nudeman - Oct 16, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      irishwilliamsport
      Not to jump all over your post, but I am going to to jump all over your post (nothing personal):

      1) You just can’t play the “Well, WSU held them to 7 points …” game.
      Different day, different intensity level, different USC coach now, for God’s sake.
      WSU game result is meaningless.
      Everything has changed and there is ZERO chance ND holds them to 7 points or less.

      2) “… as long as we don’t turn the ball over”. Yeah, we never do that, so we’ll be fine.
      Nothing to see here; move along.
      Jesus …

      3) Memo to BK: RUN THE GO**AMN BALL

      4) If Tommy Rees throws more than 35 times, we lose.

      5) If Cam McDaniel runs more than 10 times, we win.
      Not because he’s so great; rather it’s just a sign that we’re killing the clock in the 4th qtr.
      5a) That fu**ing horse isn’t coming to South Bend, is he? He shows up and we lose, automatic
      5b) dickasman being so quiet makes me nervous. Hope the new meds are working
      5c) Getsome is becoming normal. Not sure I like that.
      5d) Keith – you still out there?
      5e) Favorite ND/USC moment – EVER: Eric Penick, 85 yards for a TD. 1973.

      5)

  18. nducsb - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Watching the Thursday night game last week I gotta say I wish Lane was fired after our game instead… USC looked fired up and ready to play. They ran all over Arizona, and repeatedly made big plays down the field.. without Marquis Lee being in the line up. That being said, if rest really was all our big #7 needed, I don’t think USC will have the time to make those big plays, nor run all over us. Hopefully.

  19. irishwilliamsport - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    nudeman

    If you feel the need to jump the post, then jump the post….no big deal and it’s encouraged. I’m gonna be all over some of your lame posts from now on lol.

    In the BK era as head coach we are unbeaten if we don’t turn it over, end of story. Will it happen ? Who knows. I don’t think USC is a very good team or a well coached team before or after Kiffin, just a gut feeling and when adversity hits during a game the players revert back to the GT bowl game, the WSU loss and the ASU loss, we’ll see.

    I can’t remember if they play that 3 5 5 defense like OU, but I hope we run the goddam ball 60 times.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      I agree, a 3-5-5 defense would give them a slight advantage. Very perceptive.

  20. getsome99 - Oct 16, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    I’m as much of a nervous nelly when it comes to playing USC as the rest of you, because like the rest of you, I’ve seen ND lose games in the most unthinkable ways.

    However, I feel very confident about this one because USC is just not that good. We can even spot them a couple TO’s because WE finally have the talent now to overcome a couple mistakes and still win.

    (As long as we don’t pull another USF that is)

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