USC week: I doubt there’s a more important Saturday for anyone even remotely correlated with the University of Notre Dame. As Wayne Campbell once said, “Game on!”
The two paramount programs first began playing for the Jeweled Shillelagh three years after the construction of Yankee Stadium (1926). They’ve played every year since, except for a brief halt between 1943-1945. Only “The Game” (Michigan vs. Ohio State) has more storied history and hatred.
But lately, this hasn’t been much of a rivalry; more of a mockery. The Fighting Irish have dropped the last seven meetings by an average of 27 points. The last two games in particular have been brutal. In 2007, Clausen’s freshman season, the Irish were smoked 38-0 in South Bend and last season, they had to travel 2,000 miles for a 38-3 shellacking.
“I think that our team, within our own way of doing things has become a lot more confident that every time they go out there, there’s an expectation where good things are going to happen instead of hoping that bad things don’t happen,” Weis said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
Blue and Gold fanatics can only hope Weis’ words are true. They’ve won four games by the strand of angel-hair pasta. They’re as close to being 1-4 as they are being 4-1. But then again, good teams always find a way to win.
A victory for the Irish on Saturday will quietly diminish all the demons coach Weis has with the University of Notre Dame. He’s yet to pull off a signature win during his tenure: He’s 0-fer in BCS bowl games and 0-fer against USC. Wins against top teams, especially the Trojans, do wonders in terms of recruiting, making boosters blush and satisfying the “I better be satisfied” alumni.
Even more, a victory would spike Jimmy Clausen to the top of the Heisman polls. The USC defense is arguably the toughest in college football. Win against them and you can pack your bags for New York.
Rumor has it that the USC fight song blares wildly during Notre Dame practices this week. This way, come Saturday they’re so sick of hearing it they just look to knock out the nearest Trojan.
It hasn’t worked the last seven years, but this is a new Fighting Irish team; with the Fighting Irish confidence of old.
“Winning this week would do wonders for my spirits,” Weis said Tuesday. “But it wouldn’t just be my spirits, it would be everyone affiliated with Notre Dame.
“So that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
And according to the Due Theory Mr. Weis, you fellas are due for a victory over USC.