This week Josh asked the staff to share their best memories of the Notre Dame - USC rivalry. So here I am to share mine.
Unfortunately for me my favorite ND/USC memory is the 2005 game. Not so much because of the outcome, but I can look back and know that was one of the best games ever played and I was fortunate enough to be in attendance.
I remember that 2005 game had the biggest buildup for a game that I could ever remember. USC was at the height of it’s dominance with Pete Carroll, Reggie Bush, and Matt Leinart. First year coach Charlie Weis had Irish fans excited with his Super Bowl rings, NFL offense, and the fact Notre Dame was 4-1 and ranked in the top ten. Brady Quinn was finally realizing his potential and Jeff Samardzija was breaking out as a star.
I was in sixth grade at the time and in the weeks and days leading up to the game my teacher had a countdown on his white board until the game. He’d stand out in the hallway between classes and yell to us, “Five days until the Fall of Troy!”, “Four days until the Fall of Troy!”, so on and so forth.
This period was also the best time of my sports fandom. Not only were the Irish in the national spotlight for one of the few times in my lifetime, but my Chicago White Sox were on their way to a World Series title. The Sox were in the ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim the weekend of the ND/USC game. The night of the ND/USC game Freddy Garcia pitched a complete game to push the series 3-1 in the Sox favor. I remember it all like it was yesterday. To date, it was the best time in my sports life.
I remember me and my old man sat in section 131 above the student section. Every time USC’s band played that annoying song, my dad would hold up his middle finger instead of the “V for Victory” sign that Trojan fans throw up during that song. For the first time in my life Notre Dame Stadium felt like a hostile environment.
When Tommy Zbikowski brought back that punt in the second quarter, thats when we really started believing the Irish really had a shot pulling off the upset and ending USC’s 27 game win streak.
As we know, the game didn’t end the way we would have liked. It sucks that since I’m relatively young this is my best/favorite USC memory. I could say the 2012 game that clinched a spot in the National Title game, but I wasn’t there for that one. The 2005 game is still burned in my memory because I was there and because of all the hype and build up.
Hopefully sometime in the near future Notre Dame and USC will play another high profile game like this and that can replace the 2005 game as my favorite.