Originally posted on In The Neutral Zone  |  Last updated 10/17/13
On Saturday the USC Trojans are set to travel to South Bend to battle the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, a renewal of one of the most longstanding and traditional rivalries in all of college football. It is a matchup featuring two of the most storied and renowned programs historically in the game, two programs whose names alone evoke memories of some of the innumerable great players and coaches of yesteryear. But this year’s chapter of the longstanding series promises to deviate significantly from some of the proudest and most illustrious periods of the rivalry. The Trojans are still in the infancy stage of a very abrupt transition period, set to embark on only their second game under the leadership of interim head coach Ed Orgeron. Meanwhile, the Irish thus far have very clearly taken a big step backward this season on the heels of their magical undefeated regular season last year; the offense and defense have suffered from the losses of QB Everett Golson and LB Manti Te’o respectively. Regardless of the changes the two programs have undergone, the game annually elicits tremendous competition and passion. Much has changed for USC and Notre Dame from the last truly memorable meeting between the two played eight years ago. At that time, the Trojans were ranked number one nationally and found themselves trailing 30-24 in South Bend with under a minute remaining to play; QB Matt Leinart connected with Dwayne Jarrett in stride for a huge 4th and 9 conversion which set the stage for USC’s ensuing controversial game-winning one yard touchdown run by Matt Leinart. The Irish at that time were ranked in the top ten under the guide of first-year head coach Charlie Weis and an offensive attack highlighted by QB Brady Quinn and WR Jeff Samardzija. That game was the last true instant classic in the prestigious series, one characterized by two top ten teams duking it out to the bitter end with national title implications riding on the line. The annual meeting between Notre Dame and USC commands much attention based on the names of the two respective programs alone. It is a matchup which involves arguably the two greatest, most prestigious programs of all time. Undoubtedly the two programs have experienced great fluctuations over the past several years, as they no longer sit atop the lofty perch they once occupied within the national landscape. But look for an inspired effort from both teams nonetheless, as this matchup always seems to bring out a passionate effort from both squads. 1 total views, 1 views today
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