Found November 23, 2012 on
Beyond the Combine:
There’s more than a place in this year’s BCS Championship on the line at the LA Coliseum this weekend. This is rivalry weekend. There’s pride on the line.
Make no mistake about it, USC would love nothing more than to upset bitter rivals Notre Dame on Saturday night and knock the Fighting Irish out of the championship picture, a victory that would not just make up for a disappointing season, but also might save head coach Lane Kiffin’s job.
Kiffin and his players came into the season as the No. 1 team in the country with Heisman favorite Matt Barkley at quarterback, while the Irish were unranked. Ironically, it’s the Irish who are now No. 1 and feature one of the Heisman frontrunners in linebacker Manti T’eo, while the Trojans have slipped out of the top-25.
USC (7-4) will also have to do without Barkley for Saturday’s game after the senior injured his shoulder in last weekend’s loss to crosstown rivals UCLA.
The Irish, meanwhile, are 11-0 for the first time since 1989 and are back at the pinnacle of college football for the first time in 19 years. The big question for them, however, is how they will handle the pressure of being top dogs, something that hasn’t worked out well for the No. 1 team recently, with Alabama and Kansas State falling on two consecutive Saturdays.
The good news for the Irish is that in the 14 years of the BCS, 12 of the teams ranked No. 1 in the penultimate weekend of the season have gone on to play in the national championship game.
The Irish will go into Saturday’s primetime showdown as favorites to knock off a USC team that has failed to show up for big games this season, but considering the nature of this rivalry — arguably the biggest in all of college football — an upset by the Trojans is still a strong possibility, and if that happens the BCS picture could be thrown into mayhem heading into the final week of the season.
In other big matchups this weekend, No. 2 Alabama (10-1) and No. 3 Georgia (10-1) will try to get past rivals Auburn (3-8) and Georgia Tech (6-5), respectively.
Both are heavy favorites to win and if they do it will set up a SEC Championship showdown between the two next weekend, with the winner of that game likely advancing to the BCS Championship.
One of the most interesting games of the weekend is No. 4 Florida (10-1) at No. 10 Florida State (10-1), with the winner retaining an outside shot at a place in the national championship, providing USC beats Notre Dame.
The Gators have barely won at times this season, but have perhaps the best resume of any national contender, and a win on Saturday would leave them with victories over four of the current top-12. The Seminoles, meanwhile, have dominated weaker opposition in the ACC and will be looking for a marquee win over a top-four team to boost their status in the computer and human polls and potentially catapult them into a national title showdown.
On the West Coast, No. 5 Oregon (10-1) will travel to Corvallis for the civil war showdown with No. 15 Oregon State (8-2). The Ducks retain an outside shot at making the BCS Championship despite last weekend’s home loss to No. 8 Stanford (9-2), but will need USC to beat Notre Dame and for No. 17 UCLA (9-2) to beat Stanford this weekend. If that happens, Oregon will play UCLA in next Saturday’s PAC-12 Championship and could sneak its way back into the top two with a couple of impressive late wins.
If, however, Stanford beats UCLA, those two teams would meet again next weekend for the PAC-12 title.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play against the USC Trojans Saturday night at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The game will be played at 8 p.m. on ABC. For Notre Dame it the final obstacle in a season that could see them win the National Championship.
Notre Dame is a 5.5 point favorite in the game. The spread is surprisingly small considering the Fighting Irish are ranked No....
Lane Kiffin could not escape the noise.
After USCs 22-13 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night, cheers and other boisterous shouts from the Fighting Irish locker room reverberated through the walls during Kiffin's postgame news conference.
Later, when Kiffin was readying to leave the stadium in his car, Notre Dames massive equipment truck sat nearby idling and rumbling in the...
USC Coach Lane Kiffin talks with the media following the Trojans 22-13 loss to top-ranked Notre Dame.
USC Coach Lane Kiffin wishes the Trojan family a 'Happy Thanksgiving' following Thursday's practice as USC continues to prepare to host top-ranked Notre Dame.
LOS ANGELES - Although the result wasnt the one they were looking for, USC didnt have any problem getting up for UCLA.
The buildup contributes to that. They dont have Conquest every week on the USC campus, nor do they have a bonfire each week on the UCLA campus. Those traditions are saved for USC-UCLA rivalry week.
Players from both sides of the crosstown rivalry know each other...
So, let me get this straight…
USC — specifically AD Pat Haden — is bringing back next season a football coach who, despite the wealth of talent the storied SC football program attracts, has accumulated a decidedly mediocre 7-5 record this season; who, even with the enviable offensive weapons he has at his disposal, couldn’t figure out how to get in the end zone in four chances...
Not many young quarterbacks would even have the audacity to imagine making their first career starts under the circumstances surrounding Max Wittek on Saturday.
The freshman is replacing Matt Barkley, an injured senior who has claimed most of the career passing records at Southern California. He's facing Notre Dame (11-0), a storied football power with a No. 1 ranking and the...
Welcome to the Fallout
Sealing the deal?
Texas A&M starting quarterback Johnny Manziel made his closing arguments for winning the Heisman Trophy in the Aggies' 59-29 win over Missouri. (The Bryan-CollegeStation Eagle)
Raising Johnny Football.
Tim Rohan looks at Johnny Manziel's parents, and how they raised their son, the current leader in the race for the Heisman...
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Not many young quarterbacks would even have the audacity to imagine making their first career starts under the circumstances surrounding Max Wittek at the Coliseum on Saturday night.
The freshman is replacing Matt Barkley, an injured senior who has claimed most of the career passing records at Southern California. He's facing Notre Dame (11-0), a storied...
Unlike the 2012 Draft when many NFL teams were drooling over all of the top-flight talent available to them at the quarterback position, next year’s crop of signal callers is short on expectations, if not talent. Only two QBs, USC Matt Barkley and West Virginia Geno Smith are sure fire, first round material, and that is with an asterisk. The rest of the 2013 NFL Draft QB class...
#1 Notre Dame (11-0) v. Southern Cal (7-4)
The Coliseum - Los Angeles, CA - 7pm EST on ABC
First Things - It's just like we were told all offseason: Notre Dame heads to Los Angeles for a game that features a senior Heisman candidate who turned down the riches of the NFL in favor of leading a team toward a possible National Championship berth. Just switch "...
Thanksgiving/rivalry week has several college football games for fans to be thankful for. The BCS picture is anything but decided at this point and a few games could really alter the standings this week. The obvious one is a showdown between the #1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the USC Trojans.
If the Irish can pull off this road win they all but lock up their spot in the National...
Game Day Goulash
LSU keeps its hopes for both the SEC title and the BCS title by beating Arkansas 20-13. Now Alabama has to do is lose to Auburn. Don't hold your breath. (ESPN)
Huskers pierce Hawkeyes.
Nebraska tramples Iowa 13-7 on its way to solidifying the Big Ten Legends Division title. (The Omaha World-Herald)
Let's start a riot.