Countdown to Notre Dame at USC: A Week 2 referendum
We continue our series counting down to this year's Fighting Irish vs. Trojans showdown, with both teams playing key contests after relatively easy tune-ups.
The 86th meeting between USC and Notre Dame will take place November 29. (ND leads the series, 45-35-5, and has won the last two meetings). As the two programs progress toward rivalry week, we'll take a weekly look at current trends, and the current state of hostilities, between the Trojans and the Fighting Irish.
Days until game: 88
2014 Notre Dame-USC power index: 1. USC (1-0) 2. Notre Dame (1-0)
Notre Dame this week: vs. Michigan, Saturday, 3:30 (Notre Dame -4 1/2)
USC this week: at Stanford, Saturday, 3:30 (Stanford -2 1/2)
Notre Dame storyline: Irish fans will suppress their various other reserves of hatred to focus this week on despising Michigan, in a series that people hilariously think is about to permanently end, but seems fated to be picked up in a mid-level December bowl game at some point in the near future. Remember Catholics vs. Convicts in the Sun Bowl? (Of course you do, it was on CBS.)
USC storyline: If USC could rock Fresno State on a week when all kinds of nonsense was going on, Trojans fans are understandably curious whether they can extrapolate that to mean they're safe to utter the words "we're back." A win at defending Pac-12 champion Stanford would elicit such words. Quarterback Cody Kessler underwent a minor toe procedure on Tuesday, but is expected to be fine for Saturday.
Moment in hatestory: November 28, 1992
Larry Smith is the favorite USC coach of all time for many Notre Dame fans, since he was a robust 0-6 against the Fighting Irish, including a 31-23 loss in this, his final meeting against ND. This defeat -- sandwiched between a loss to UCLA and a 24-7 loss to Fresno State in the Freedom Bowl -- was a major piece of the puzzle that led to Smith's forced resignation about a month after this meeting. The next season, John Robinson reassumed the reins of the program he'd helped build to prominence. Enjoy some highlights of the '92 game, with Smith resplendent in fashionable white sweater.
@LaFontaine12 as a ND fan, do you really consider that a rivalry game, as opposed to just a big matchup? Seen a lot of ND fans who don't— Duke Silver, Esq. (@DukeSilverEsq) September 2, 2014
@DukeSilverEsq Personally I do not, I see it as a big game. USC is ND's rival, not Michigan.— Sean LaFontaine (@LaFontaine12) September 2, 2014
My CFB week 2 poll: 1. Notre Dame 2. Florida State 3. Alabama 4. BMS 5. Red Lightning 6. Auburn's ballboy ... 127. USC 128. Michigan— Tanner B. Hoops (@Tmoneyhoops) September 2, 2014
Give us your thoughts on the USC/Notre Dame rivalry below, or @EyeonCFB. If your tweet is selected for "Countdown to Notre Dame at USC" next week, you will be the lucky recipient of some retaliatory anger from strangers on the internet.
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