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The Anti-Preview: #13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish VS USC Trojans


Brendan McAlinden

For 14 years I have provided the most irrelevant game preview for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish — but I’ve also provide the most relevant fan preview for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (don’t @ me).


Notre Dame is coming off of the bye, which came at a great time for them. It allowed the team time to heal after 6 weeks of dings, and it likely gave Brian Kelly and Tommy Rees time to sort out the quarterback issues moving forward — as long as they figure it out. To be honest... I gave up trying to figure it out. Just when I thought I had my finger on the pulse of the situation, Notre Dame would do the opposite. While a little frustrating at first, I have finally decided to to just roll with whatever happens.

There is still plenty to play for this season, and yes, that includes a playoff berth if a small handful of things go Notre Dame’s way. One thing the Irish can do to help themselves on that quest (that I know is unlikely, but not impossible at this moment) is to exceed expectations against a weak second half schedule.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Notre Dame is a 6.5 point favorite at home this week against the USC Trojans. Exceeding expectations begins with doubling or tripling up on the spread this week. *Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.

USC Trojans

Souther Cal is a god damn mess right now. The Trojans are several weeks removed from finally firing Clay Helton as the head coach which seems like a move made 3 years too late (at least). At 3-3, USC has looked even less than their record. The three losses have eerily similar scores in 42-28, 25-27, and 42-26.

Defensively they have massive issues across the board, because they’re fundamentally terrible at tackling and being physical. Offensively, Drake London is the absolute TRUTH at wide receiver — and it doesn’t matter. Even as London seemingly dominates, USC has trouble scoring points against average defenses.

They aren’t a physical football team and they are coming to the midwest to play a game at night. USC could galvanize and make this entire trip a focal point to turn around their season, or they can just show up with coats. I’m still torn on which it will be.

What should you be drinking?

Without question, this is my favorite week of the Notre Dame football season each year. Well over a decade ago I was inspired by the gods to create a libation worthy of the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football.

Trojan Blood

Mix however you see fit.

If you’re up to it, drop a picture on Twitter, tag @OneFootDown, and use the hashtag #TrojanBlood for all the glory. All of it.

What should you be eating?

The Irish are playing a home game at night, so we have the time to really feast it up. You can go about 100 different directions, and unless you’re being an idiot, there is really no way you can go wrong. If you have the time — go ahead and do that brisket. If you don’t have quite as much time, ribs are always a fantastic choice.

It all goes great with blood.

What should you be wearing?

Notre Dame has already called for two green outs this season, and they did it for the opportune time with weather. Sure... we can do the green thing again, but this is the battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh. maybe “wear” a few of your own sticks. Why not?

The Rivalry Trophy

The Jeweled Shillelagh is the hardware given to the winner of the annual contest between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the USC Trojans. Legend states that Howard Hughes’ pilot brought this Gaelic Warclub made of blackthorn oak, back from a trip in Ireland in 1952. It was the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Los Angeles that created the award.

The winner of the contest is awarded the trophy with a new medallion to mark the victor. Notre Dame has emerald shamrocks while USC has ruby encrusted Trojan heads. Although the trophy was created in 1952, the entire series is recorded back to 1926 on the Shillelagh. There have been 5 ties, and those games are represented with a combo medallion of a shamrock and a Trojan head.

Notre Dame and USC play for the Jeweled Shillelagh rivalry trophy. Twitter @T_Rees11

The original shillelagh was retired after the 1995 season. There was simply no more room on the trophy for anymore shamrocks or heads after 43 seasons (69 seasons with the back-dating). The original Jeweled Shillelagh now resides with Notre Dame because the Fighting Irish won more games up to that point.

There is a new trophy that is a little longer than the original. It was purchased by Jim Gillis, a former baseball player for both Notre Dame and USC. It is made of the same kind of oak, and hails from the County Leitrim in Ireland. It was introduced in 1996 after the retirement of the original. Notre Dame leads the all-time series THE ALL TIME SERIES 49-37-5. I could give a rats fart about vacated wins by either team - that’s the REAL record and what is represented on the Jeweled Shillalgh.

Notre Dame is just 10-14 since 1996.

3 reasons to hate USC

There are countless reasons to hate Troy, and this time around, I’m simply going to drop a handful of years on your lap.




At the end of the night...

Even bad USC teams have given good Irish teams fits over the years. On paper this feels like a blowout win, but like I have alluded to — we’ve seen weirder. The truth is that Notre Dame is a more talented and more physical team. While USC has a road winning streak of 8 games (tied with Notre Dame as best in CFB) none of those 8 games were at night in South Bend at the end of October. I think the game is played tight and close in the first half, but the Irish eventually pull away in the 4th quarter. Irish win 36-24


Twitter @downtheline1842