Preparing for the Fall of Troy

I’ll be honest, I have seriously attempted to sit down and write a breakdown of the Washington game, but I couldn’t.  The only thing on my mind as soon as the Irish walked off the field in victory was: “Beat SC.”  I attempted to try to write a usual entry of statistical analysis and a logical preview of the game this Saturday, but I failed miserably.  Any time I have sat down and tried to write this post, I have been blinded by pure utter hatred and contempt for the institution that is the University of Southern California.

It is a different hate than I have for Michigan for sure.  While a loss to Michigan infuriates me like none other, a win against them honestly doesn’t mean as much as taking down our rivals from the West Coast.  There is nothing sweeter for me as a ND fan to take out the Trojans — however, I have never had that feeling since I set foot on campus and became one of the millions that pledge their undying loyalty to the Golden Dome.

It’s been seven years, seven long years, since Troy has fallen at the hands of the Irish (and to Bob Davie no less), and I’ve never been able to enjoy such a victory as a true ND fan.  The annual game against USC has been like falling to the Dark Side of the Force: frustration leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.

Yes, I can squeeze a Stars Wars reference into anything.

So to hell with the usual post and logical thinking.  I’ll give what I see as keys to the game at the end of this post, but the majority of this will be me speaking as a fan, a fan that can’t stand USC and is sick of losing to them.  The blue and gold colored glasses are on for this post folks.  If you are going to the game, I want you to read this, get riled up, get pissed, and get loud from 3:30pm EST until Troy falls.  If you aren’t going to the game, I want to read this, get riled up, pass this around to folks that are going to the game, and where ever you will be watching this I hope you are loud as all hell too — in fact, I hope it is within the vicinity of a Trojan fan.

Let’s take a stroll through a primer of why I (and you) should hate USC:

Tommy Trojan

My hate for USC will need no assistance, but Tommy Trojan will ensure that I will have the urge to punch anyone saying “Fight On” in my vicinity square in the mouth once he stabs the 50 yard line with his sword.  Seriously, I cannot think of a more worthless mascot in all of college sports.  His sole purpose is to come out with the band with leftover props from Gladiator, stab the field, ride a horse around, and face the band and USC fans with his sword in one hand and the “Fight On”/peace sign being wielded by the other.

For me, seeing him stab the field is even worse than the Michigan State flag planting.  It screams arrogance of “we own you” before the freakin’ coin toss even happens.  It’s our field, jackass, come take it from us first.

If that isn’t enough, this is all accompanied by that damned band…speaking of…

This Is the Only Song We Know…It’s the Only Song We Know….

Holy dear friggin’ Christ-on-a-crutch does the “Spirit of Troy” make me want to take Tommy Trojan’s sword and slice both my ears off.  If getting beat by USC isn’t bad enough, their damned band will never shut up, and if that wasn’t enough they do nothing but play the same damned two songs over and over and over again.  And of course, you have all their fans just acting like mindless zombies following in-beat with the “Fight On”/peace sign symbol (see Tommy Trojan in the picture above) in rhythmic loyalty.

I really wonder what the requirement sheet for the band says if you show up to try out.  I have a feeling it is something like this:

Try Out for the Spirit of Troy!


  • Must enjoy wearing ridiculous head gear
  • Must have the ability to learn two songs
  • Must also be able to play these songs non-stop without having your our ears bleed or be reduced to vomiting all season long

I’m pretty sure I got it dead on.

I’m not even joking about the two song thing.  While on defense they will play the same song after just about every single play (sing along with the “This is the only song we know” line) and then on offense, you will hear their God-awful fight song.  This will repeat until halftime, in which the only highlight will really be the Song Girls coming out front and center, and then they will go back to the cycle of horrible until the game ends.

Every note that comes out of a USC instrument just makes my blood boil.

The Fans

You know, I never really had an issue with USC fans until I decided to go watch and game in their house my senior year.  Now before I go on, I will say, I can’t really make this an indictment of the student body because I learned one thing rather quickly: the majority of the fans appeared to pissed off former Los Angeles Rams fans that want a pro football team, don’t want to be Raider or 49er fans, so they cheer for USC.

Now I know we got our fair share of non-Domer fans, aka Subway Alumni, but our fans have, well class more often than not.  I mean you know you are doing something wrong when Pat Forde actually calls you out.

I kid you not, at this game, I had the following situation happen: ND fans were behind me and said a certain call was (and excuse the French) bullshit.  A USC fan, father with a small boy around 8 or so, turned around and chastised the fan, and me and my family did the same, saying ND has more class than to use such language around a child.  They apologized and the game went on as normal…until USC scored, and then Mr. Watch-Your-Mouth-In-Front-Of-My-Boy, stood up and violently screamed at two female Irish fans with a slew of F-bombs and other four-letter delights: “YEAH! THAT’S FUCKIN’ RIGHT! GET YOUR SHIT TEAM OUTTA OUR HOUSE! WE ARE ABOUT TO KICK YOUR FUCKIN’ ASSES ALL NIGHT LONG!”

The funny part, that is the abridged version, dude seriously went on a 3-minute tirade on these poor women.

I think my sister said it best at halftime: “you know, this is just a stadium full of annoying ‘whoop-de-wooing’ jerks that are wearing colors that resemble Ronald McDonald vomit.”

Also if that isn’t enough to show how classy they are, how about this what this one fan decided to do to Weis:

Charlie Weis keeps a hat in his office that is emblazoned with the words, “USC owns Notre Dame.”

A Trojans fan mailed him the hat a few years ago, along with a letter containing disparaging remarks about his daughter, Hannah, who is developmentally disabled. Weis won’t divulge what the letter writer said, but he keeps the hat as a reminder.

“When we’ve won a game (against USC), that cap won’t be around anymore,” Weis said.

Bravo, jackass.

2005 – The “Bush Push” Game

Yes, it is that game.  The one game that you will likely ever see me not viciously strike down arguments that ND was completely screwed by the refs.  Yes, ND did have a chance to stop a 4th and 9, a pass that somehow managed to fit into the smallest window ever as Ambrose Wooden had perfect position on the pass; however, the defense stepped up after said play once again, but those efforts feel short due to some…uh beyond questionable reffing.

Fast forward to the end of the video to play along folks, I had the best seat in the house for this debacle, on the USC sideline just a few yards away (in fact, if you can make out a guy wearing a blue shirt and kakhi shorts on the sideline, that would be me).  Once Leinart, fumbled the ball out of bounds, I immediately saw the refs blow the clock dead; however, their good calls stopped there.  As I saw (and you can see in the video), the immediate reaction on the sidelines was to attempt to call a timeout — one they didn’t have, that would be a penalty.  The refs also gave USC a more than beneficial spot on the ball.  They actually marked it where Leinart’s body went down on the field and not where the ball went out on the fumble.  USC should’ve been a couple yards back — an area where you can’t QB sneak/Bush Push it in.  And of course, the Bush Push play happened, which is again, a penalty (yet somehow made ESPN’s top college plays of all time at 23).  Now I can see how that wasn’t called as you never see a flag thrown on that, but the more and more I see the push, the more and more it just sticks out like a sore thumb — it was such an obvious violation.

And if that all isn’t enough, the reaction from USC fans was even better.  On my aforementioned road trip, I saw more than one person wearing the following shirt: “Flight to South Bend: $300, Tickets to the Game: $200, Watching Irish Fans Charge the Field When They Didn’t Win: Priceless.”

Yeah, eff off:

Pete Carroll

Programs always tend to take on the character of the man leading the charge.  If you ever wonder why USC seems to resemble a gigantic collection of cocky douchebags, look no further than head douche–I mean coach, Pete Carroll.

I mean this is same guy that sends this whopper to press boxes before the Trojans take the field:

O is for obsolete, which is what USC considers the moniker “Southern Cal” to be. In its weekly game notes each week, there is a friendly warning not to use that reference. Accepted names are: USC, Southern California, So. California, Troy and Trojans.

I mean really?!

This is also the same guy that decided to “prank” his team — I’m sure you’ve all seen in that wonderful “Lean on Me” video, has his O-linemen play a touch football game during Friday walkthroughs, allowed Will Ferrell to disrupt a practice, and also did a swimming exhibition against the famed USC alum.

That alone isn’t as annoying as the constant fellating that ESPN performs on his goofy antics.  “Man, he knows how to keep his team loose” — no he knows how to make them a bunch of cocky, arrogant douchebags that have consistently shown they have a case of overconfidence when some bottom-of-the-barrel Pac 10 team upsets them every year.

Speaking of, how is USC preparing for the Irish this week?  Well, they are slip and sliding down the sidelines.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

Perhaps the best example of Carroll’s arrogance came in the 2005 game.  After USC stole the game from the Irish, Carroll had the nerve to point to his national championship ring as he left the field.  Yes, Pete, we are fully aware bending the rules can bring about championships.

Now go die in a fire.

Keys to the Game

OK, that’s enough of the anti-USC tirade for now.  Here is what I see as the important keys to Saturday’s tilt against Southern Cal:

  • Clausen vs. USC Defense: Yeah, yeah ND hasn’t faced a “defense like USC”, well guess what, USC hasn’t faced an offense like ND or a QB like Clausen whom leads the nation in passing efficiency.  This is the marquee matchup for sure.  Clausen needs to stay efficient and ensure he doesn’t turn the ball over.  Of course, a Heisman-like performance will also do wonders in helping the Irish topple Troy.
  • ND Blitzing vs. Barkley: Hello true freshmen QB! Welcome to your first big rivalry game on the road and let me introduce you to Tenuta’s mad-professor blitzing packages.  Let’s be frank, ND’s defense has not been good save for Nevada.  USC doesn’t quite have the same offense they used to, but they are still dangerous.  Getting in Barkley’s face and rattling him early can force USC to be run dependent and allow us to completely sell out on it.  A Barkley turnover could very well be the difference maker in the game.
  • ND Rushing Defense vs. USC’s Backfield: Going along with the above, we have to make sure that we actually can stop USC’s rushing offense; otherwise, I’m sure USC will be happy to hand the ball off all day long.
  • The X-Factor: It is all on ND’s side.  Seven years of pain, constant taunting of players saying “should’ve picked SC”, a slew of the best recruits in the nation on hand, Clausen has something to prove, the weather will be freezing for the California boys, etc, etc.  There is a reason this blog entry was written the way it was: this is the most important factor going into the game.  On paper USC should beat us; in fact, it shouldn’t be close.  But that doesn’t matter, we should’ve been killed in 2005 and we should have won that game.  ND is out for revenge, out for blood, and out to prove to all the nay-sayers that ND is indeed coming back.

    This team has a confidence and swagger that is different from the 2005 team, they showed me against Washington at the end of the 4th and in OT that they, as a collective unit, refused to lose that game.  What followed was multiple goal line stands, Clausen leading yet another clutch drive and then a game winner, Tate flew through the air, and the defense laid out a Washington receiver to end the game with a hit I have never seen ND deliver in recent memory.  They are playing with fire and resemble the “nasty” team that Weis promised us years ago.

Bring it on Southern Cal, we are ready.  It’s time to put another emerald on the Jeweled Shillelagh.