As important as this game is for its historical implications its hard to get up for this years match-up with as bad as ND is. We all have stories of some of the knock-down-drag-out fights we have seen in theis rivalry. DC Trojan did a great job in picking out a few of the doozies from the past.
The rumors are swirling fast and furious that if Weis doesn't have a respectable showing against USC that he is gone. I am ambivalent as to whether he stays or goes, if he is gone then he only has himself to blame. Some of the things he has said and some of his actions have made Weis a very dislikable figure. When you couple that with supposed "stellar" recruiting classes that don't produce on the field then there are two things that can be going on... 1) the coach[ing] is sub-par or 2) the recruits aren't as good a s advertised. To me it's a little of both, Weis sold the whole success in the NFL with Brady thing while also getting a little something extra special from the recruitng rags just because it's ND. I mean with the easy schedule ND has put together you would think with all that "talent" that they would have played to a better record.
If you're into tradition then ND has it but they haven't really played up to that potential under Weis and they continue to rail against Willingham, as if it's still his fault, 4 years later. Davie was lost at sea so its pretty clear that the last time that ND was competitive was under mushmouth Granny Holtz. Sure SC was winless for 13 in a row but at least the games were competitive. Other than the Bush-Push Game SC has pretty much throttled ND.
This years ND team is better than last years team but how much better is another question. By unit the O line is better, They haven't allowed as many sacks as they did last season. The QB is better, though Clausen still makes a lot of mistakes and he still isn't the savior the Irish have hoped for. Clausen has also "improved" against powerhouses like Washington, San Diego State and Syracuse. Clausen has not seen a defense this season like SC's and the SC defense is better than they were last season even without Kevin Ellison at safety. I would look for Weis to go dink and dunk if they can't establish the run but of course he could have Clausen put it up and go for broke so you never know...
The real key to this game will be USC's offense. You know they are going to try and establish the run early and if that happens forget it...it will bring ND's safties up and and that's when Sanchez could cut loose. He is bound for a big passing game after playing conservative the past few weeks and Pete Carroll has hinted that he may open things up for Sanchez in this game. SC may probe the ND defense the first couple of series to settle their nerves becuse of Senior Day and to see what ND is going to try and do but if the O line gives Sanchez the time he needs I see no reason why SC can't unload on ND. How distracted they are over Weis and how distraught they are after loosing to Syracuse could be a factor but who knows.
Regardless of the implications I want SC win...no matter what but the national implications even though razor thin still hang in the balance. The Oregon/Oregon St. game controls our destiny but as of right now I am torn as to where I want to see USC play in the post season. I would agree with the conventional wisdom that SC needs to win the Pac-10 to even be considered for the BCS title game that means the Beavers have to lose and SC needs to win today and next week against ucla. But another part of me thinks its would be great to USC play ina nother BCS bowl game. Again SC needs to win both of their remaining games but do we want the beavers to win? I just don't have an opinion, a Beaver loss coupled with SC winning its last two games would pretty much guarantee SC another trip to Pasadena but another BCS bowl is enticing. But first things first...Herbstreit already gave SC the kiss of death with his comments on Gameday about SC not having to worry about the Irish... the last time he said that was in 2006 the week before the ucla game...........no further discussion needed.
Game thread will be up later!