South Bend: There are 225 private jets due into a tiny South Bend Airport by this Saturday for the Notre Dame/USC game.
Tickets for the fifty yard line are changing hands for about $3,000 each, according to one local report. Seats in the end zone from the
myriad scalpers who are everywhere around campus cost $500.
At the pep rally tonight, Notre Dame brought back one of their all time greats, Rocket Ishmail, probably the fastest college football wide
receiver in history, to gin up the tens of thousands of fans who had flocked to the rally on a cool and breezy night in South Bend.
Rarely has a game attracted so much attention. The 4-1 Irish are desperate for a win over USC, who have beaten them seven times on the trot.
Imagine the Red Sox defeating the Yankees seven years in a row, the Patriots defeating the Giants seven years in a row, Rangers
defeating Celtic seven years in a row, and you get some sense of the frustration.
Notre Dame need this game more than any other in the troubled tenure of coach Charlie Weis. They have never beaten a major ranked opponent in that time. Tomorrow, against the old enemy, will be the greatest opportunity yet.
They have the two best players on the field in quarterback Jimmy Clausen and wide receiver Golden Tate. If both men click this could be a famous victory. If they don't then its curtains for the Irish and very likely for coach Weiss who is already shaky despite a good start
to this year.
Every year since he arrived Weis has simply been outcoached by Pete Carroll on the USC sideline. Will this year be any different?
Weis told his men on Friday night that they would be the story on Saturday night in most of the sports pages.
That is true. Either they will be a top ten ranked team with a major bowl prospect or yet another straggler Notre Dame side that failed to deliver when the heat came on.
By this afternoon we will know.
Me, I'm picking the Irish to come up Golden by 21-17