USC Trojans Athletic Director Lynn Swann is rooting for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s football team — except for that one Saturday per year the two greatest intersectional rivals compete on the field.
Swann, who graduated from USC in 1974, reaffirmed his university’s commitment to the annual series during an interview with the Southern California News Group published Monday.
When asked if USC was scheduling too tough, Swann replied:
Because of time zones, people on the East Coast aren’t really seeing us. We have to play a tougher schedule. If the voters are going to look at four teams to be in the top four, the Pac-12 playing the Pac-12 won’t get it by itself. We have to schedule teams and we have to have that very competitive schedule to be able to get that look. And we’ve got to win those games. So it’s important to have Texas on the schedule. It’s important that Notre Dame is playing well and we play them and we beat them along the way. When I was a student here, I think all four years, the Notre Dame-USC game had an impact on the national polls. It’s to our advantage to have that game on our schedule.
Swann’s recollection is correct.
The No. 6 Irish suffered a bad loss, 28-14, to the unranked Trojans in 1971, Swann’s freshman year. Notre Dame would finish the season 8-2 and 13th in the Associated Press poll.
In 1972, the undefeated No. 1 Trojans rolled the No. 10 Irish, 45-23. The Trojans were national champions, while the Irish finished the season ranked No. 14.
In 1973, then No. 8 Notre Dame took down sixth-ranked USC at home, 23-14, en route to a national championship. The Trojans finished ninth in the AP poll, at 9-2-1.
Finally, in Swann’s senior year, the then-No. 6 Trojans took down the No. 5 Irish in Los Angeles, 55-24, in a game most remembered for USC’s epic second half comeback.
Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s athletic director, has never publicly weighed dropping USC from the Irish’s schedule, telling the Indianapolis Star last July that “we’ll always have two Pac-12 markers (in Southern Cal and Stanford).”
The series, which the Irish lead 47-37-5, appears as if it will continue uninterrupted as it has since 1946.
And while we’re on Lynn Swann, have you listened to Podward Notre Dame yet?