Thursday, October 15, 2009

USC Weekend

It's finally here. The weekend that Notre Dame students have had marked on their calendars since they saw the 2009 football schedule. Not only does this weekend include a visit from the USC Trojans, but it also marks the beginning of a much needed fall break. The last time we saw the Irish take the field was October 3rd versus Washington - a thrilling game that taught us two things about this year's team. 1) They are resilient and 2) They will never disappoint fans looking for an entertaining game. Many students called the game the most exciting game they've seen during their time at ND (The Class of 2009 had the fortune, or misfortune, of witnessing the infamous "Bush Push" as freshmen in '05).

The Washington game preceded a two-week stretch of midterms that were the most challenging academic days of the year so far. With ND's bye week falling during the middle of this stretch, SYRs (like Keenan Hall's Disco Roll) gave students something to break up the studying last weekend. Now, with most students' exams and papers wrapped up, the campus is buzzing for football again.

So here we are today, less than 48 hours from a matchup with the University of Southern California, or in the words of our beloved former football coach and favorite ESPN analyst, Mr. Lou Holtz, the University of Spoiled Children. Though Notre Dame is known for its compassion and generosity, there is no team that ND students despise more than USC. Maybe it's the Hollywood lifestyle many of their players are known to live, the off-the-field controversies surrounding athletes such as Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo, or even their recent dominance of the historic rivalry. One thing is for sure - There is no other team in the country that Notre Dame students would be happier to see the Irish beat than USC.

Yes. Michigan and BC are big rivals. But those games have not generated the same excitement, at least in my time as a student, that has been generated by the looming arrival of Pete Carroll's crew this Saturday. Between the chalk art outside of DeBartolo and the dining halls, the posters of USC's troubled former running back who also shares the name of a popular breakfast beverage, and the slew of "Go Irish! Beat SC!" Facebook groups, the student body is ready for the "Fall of Troy."

With a "green-out" being planned, a typical ND Football Saturday weather forecast on the horizon, and a QB being mentioned as a potential Heisman frontrunner, things are looking bright for the Irish. These factors have left many students wondering if maybe - just maybe, that this will be the year when Notre Dame returns to glory versus their bitter rival. Winning on Saturday would do wonders for the morale of the team and the Notre Dame family's football spirit - erasing recent years of misery caused by Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Mark Sanchez and company. Knocking off the Trojans would be the most significant victory in Weis' tenure at his alma mater, and it would put Jimmy Clausen right in the thick of the Heisman race. Only time will tell how the Irish will do against USC on October 17th. Win or lose, one thing is certain. The ND Nation is ready to cheer loud and proud behind the Irish come Saturday.

Go Irish! Beat SC!

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