The Notre Dame-USC rivalry has been defined by dominance over the last four decades. Two of college football’s most celebrated teams have alternated long runs of success in the series that have coincided with the ups and downs of the programs.
When the Fighting Irish and Trojans meet for the 84th time on Saturday in the Los Angeles Coliseum, Notre Dame will be playing for a spot in the national championship while USC will be trying to salvage a disappointing season.
The Irish appear primed to turn the rivalry back in their direction after a decade of USC ownership.
During Southern California’s most recent dynasty, coach Pete Carroll’s Trojans reeled off eight straight victories against the Irish from 2002-09, the longest winning streak by USC in the series.
In 2010, Brian Kelly’s first season as Notre Dame coach, the Irish snapped that streak, 20-16, with the help of a memorable dropped pass that would have been a sure touchdown. USC came right back and won last season in South Bend, Ind., 31-17, to make it nine out of 10.
”Well, it’s not a great rivalry right now,” Kelly said this week. ”We haven’t won enough games. They’ve had the upper hand on this. We need to make this a rivalry.”
From the mid-80s through the mid-90s, it was USC that was trying to make it a rivalry. As USC struggled to hold its place among the elite programs in college football, the Irish often contended for national titles under Lou Holtz and went 12-0-1 against the Trojans.
Continue Reading: Irish trying to turn USC rivalry their way