The big game of the year has finally arrived. I don't care that Notre Dame is terrible, and Southern Cal is struggling against the likes of Stanford and Arizona. This is one of the biggest rivalries in all of college football. Notre Dame-USC has provided some of the best games in college football history.
Notre Dame-USC was the first intersectional rivalry in American sports. The beginning of this historic rivalry started with two women talking. Gwynn Wilson, the graduate manager of USC, went to Lincoln, Nebraska to try to persuade Knute Rockne in starting a series between Notre Dame and USC. Wilson and Rockne were getting no where in negotiations. At this time, Marion Wilson, Gwynn's wife, was telling Bonnie Rockne, Knute's wife, about the beautiful weather in Southern California. Bonnie was able to do what Gwynn Wilson could not: persuade Knute Rocnke in scheduling the first Notre Dame-USC game. The "Ramblers", as they were known as back then, and the Trojans played their first game in 1926, when Notre Dame won 13-12, beginning the classic rivalry.
The 1927 game was viewed by more people, allegedly, than any other game in college football game in history. 120,000 Notre Dame and USC fans packed Soldier Field to watch the Irish win. The win for the Irish wrapped up the 7-1-1 season, and USC fell to 8-1-1. Even back then, the Notre Dame-USC game was between super powers.
Going into the game in 1931, Notre Dame was coming off of back-to-back national championships and a 26 game winning streak, but also the tragic death of Knute Rockne. USC was undefeated in the Pacific Coast Conference and only had one loss to Saint Mary's in California (not the womens' college in Notre Dame), and they were ready to pull off the historic upset. USC trailed 14-0 at halftime, but they stormed back to win on a field goal by Johnny Baker. The USC Student Yearbook described this unimaginable victory as "The biggest upset since Mrs. O'Leary's cow knocked over that lantern." And it was. This game won a national championship for USC and started the first down years after Jesse Harper and Knute Rockne.
In 1947, Notre Dame came in as the defending national champions under Frank Leahy. There were around 105,000 fans in the Coliseum to watch the Irish dismantle the Trojans on their way to the national championship. USC went on to get destroyed in the Rose Bowl by Michigan.
The 1974 game looked like a blowout in favor of the defending champion Notre Dame, but USC went on to score 55 unanswered points to win 55-24. USC won the national championship after beating Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
The 1977 game is being honored today by Coach Weis. In 1977, USC only had one loss, and they were looking to repeat the success they had the previous year when they only lost once. Notre Dame came out and warmed up in the traditional blue jerseys with white pants. It was a normal Notre Dame-USC game. Just two national championship contenders preparing for an epic battle. When Notre Dame went back into the locker room, all of the players found green jerseys hanging in their lockers. Only the team captains and Dan Devine knew about the jersey switch. At that point, no one in the crowd knew what was happening until they saw the glimpse of the "Green Machine" coming out of the tunnel. The stadium erupted, and Notre Dame won 49-19 in quite possibly the most historic game in Notre Dame history and maybe college football history.
Today, Notre Dame is wearing the same green jerseys that the Green Machine wore in 1977 with a 30th anniversary patch. Today, Notre Dame is playing in honor of Joe Montana, Bob Golic, and the rest of the 1977 team in green jerseys. It is not a psychological ploy like many other green jersey game. It is honoring the team that won a national championship. This will affect the play on the field however.
Notre Dame will win this game 24-21. The jerseys will get the crowd behind the team and the boys playing hard for the 1977 team. USC is still struggling. Notre Dame keeps its bowl chances alive.